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Euro zone inflation confirmed at 9.1% as energy, food prices surge

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone inflation hit another record high of 9.1% in August, EU statistics office Eurostat confirmed on Friday, driven by sharply higher energy and food prices, and was likely headed towards double figures.

Consumer price inflation in the 19 countries using the euro rose 0.6% month-on-month and by 9.1% year-on-year, the highest rate since the euro was created in 1999.

In its flash estimate at the end of August, Eurostat had given a monthly change figure of 0.5%. The annual figure of 9.1% was not revised.

Eurostat said that 3.95 percentage points of the year-on-year change came from more expensive energy -- the costs of which surged because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- and 2.25 points from food, alcohol and tobacco.

But even when excluding volatile energy and unprocessed food - what the European Central Bank calls core inflation - prices were still 5.5% higher than a year earlier, from 5.1% in July.

Industrial goods were 5.1% more expensive than 12 months earlier, with services prices up 3.8%.

The ECB, whose headline inflation target is 2%, last week raised its key interest rates by an unprecedented 75 basis points and promised further hikes, prioritising the fight against inflation even as the bloc is heading towards a winter recession and gas rationing.

For Eurostat release, click on:

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/news/news-releases

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop)