Latest updates: Eurozone inflation hits 13-year high at 3.4%
Eurozone inflation hit its 13-year high in September, driven by skyrocketing energy costs, which should increase pressure on the European Central Bank to start scaling back monetary stimulus.
Consumer prices in the 19 countries that share the euro rose 3.4% from a year ago, up from 3% in August, according to a first estimate released on Friday by the statistical office of the EU. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inflation of 3.3%.
The last time eurozone inflation was at a similar level, Lehman Brothers had just gone bankrupt, Jean-Claude Trichet still ran the ECB, and the iPhone had only been on sale in Europe for a year.
Eurostat said the acceleration in prices was due to a 17.4% increase in energy costs compared to last year. Growth in prices for goods slowed from the previous month to 2.1%, while growth in prices for services accelerated to 1.7%.
Excluding the more volatile prices of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, core inflation fell from 1.6% in August to 1.9% in September.
Economists estimate that euro area inflation will continue to rise to its previous peak of just over 4%, before fading next year with the disappearance of one-off factors linked to the reopening of the economy following the blockages linked to the pandemic.
While the ECB recently announced that it would slow the pace of its bond purchases, its president Christine Lagarde said this week that she still expects inflation to fall below its 2% target. next year and pledged to maintain support for the economic recovery.