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Eurozone inflation leaps to 3.0%, highest in decade

·1-min read
Europeans are paying more for everything as data shows inflation has hit its highest level in a decade (AFP/Ina FASSBENDER)

Eurozone inflation surged to three percent in August, according to official data released Tuesday, as widespread shortages, rising energy costs and one-off effects sent consumer prices in Europe sharply higher.

The rise takes the rate a full percentage point higher than the ECB's target of two percent and to a level last reached in November 2011, though economists insist the hike is linked to effects of the coronavirus pandemic and will be short-lived.

The August inflation rate was mainly pushed higher by a 15.4 percent rise in energy prices, which compared to a 14.3 percent rise a month earlier.

Jack Allen-Reynolds, senior economist at Capital Economics, said that inflation in the 19-member eurozone could rise "even further in the coming months."

"But this is due to temporary forces that should fade next year, leaving headline and core inflation well below two percent by the end of 2022," he said.

The European Central Bank has for now set aside any concerns over the rise in consumer prices and says it will continue its long-running stimulus policies to help stoke an economic recovery.

Before the summer break, ECB chief Christine Lagarde said the ECB would show "patience" in helping the 19-nation currency club through the health crisis, signalling that key interest rates would stay lower.

Despite months of above target inflation data, the ECB has yet to make any tweaks to its 1.85-trillion-euro ($2.2 trillion) pandemic emergency bond-purchasing programme (PEPP), the bank's main tool to counter the virus impact.

The ECB's ultra-loose monetary policy measures are aimed at keeping credit cheap in the eurozone to encourage spending and investment.

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