In Europe’s relentless battle against inflation, another culprit has apparently emerged: Beyoncé.
Last month, as the star kicked off her world tour in Stockholm, fans flocked from around the world to witness the shows, pushing up prices for hotel rooms. This could explain some of the reason Sweden’s inflation rate was higher than expected in May.
Consumer prices in Sweden rose 9.7 percent last month from a year earlier, the country’s statistics agency, Statistics Sweden, said on Wednesday. The rate fell from the previous month’s 10.5 percent, but was slightly higher than economists had forecast.
Michael Grahn, an economist at Danske Bank, said the start of Beyoncé’s tour might have had an effect on the inflation data. “How much is uncertain,” he wrote on Twitter, but it could be responsible for most of the 0.3 percentage points that restaurant and hotel prices added to the monthly increase in inflation.
Restaurant and hotel prices rose 3.3 percent in May from the previous month, while prices for recreation and cultural activities and clothing also increased.
Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour, her first solo tour since 2016, started on May 10 in Stockholm, with two nights at a 50,000-capacity arena. Fans from around the world took advantage of favorable exchange rates and flew in to buy tickets that were cheaper than in the United States or Britain, for example.
Mr. Grahn said in an email that he wouldn’t blame Beyoncé for the high inflation number but that “her performance and global demand to see her perform in Sweden apparently added a little to it.”
He added that the weakness of Sweden’s currency, the krona, would have added to demand as well as cheaper ticket prices. “The main impact on inflation, however, came from the fact that all fans needed somewhere to stay,” he said, adding that fans took up rooms as far as 40 miles away. But the impact will only be short-lived, as prices revert this month.
While this is a “very rare” effect, he said Sweden had seen this kind of inflationary effect on hotel prices before from a 2017 soccer cup final, when foreign teams played in the country.
“So it is not unheard-of, albeit unusual,” Mr. Grahn said.
Carl Martensson, a statistician at Statistics Sweden, said that “Beyoncé probably had an effect on hotel prices in Stockholm the week she performed here.” But he added, “It should not have had any significant impact of Sweden’s inflation in May.”