European consumer prices hit highest level in over 13 years

BRUSSELS — Consumer prices across the 19 European Union countries that use the euro currency have spiked to the highest level in over 13 years.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said Friday that inflation across the bloc rose to 4.1% in the year through October. That’s up from September’s equivalent rate of 3.4% and represents the highest annual increase in inflation since July 2008, when inflation was also 4.1%.

Inflation in the 19 countries, like elsewhere in the world, has been spiking higher in recent months as the global economy starts to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

The spike is likely to stoke pressure on the European Central Bank to accelerate moves to end its pandemic stimulus measures as inflation is running at double its target of 2%.

The bank said Thursday, however, that much of the surge in prices is tied to comparisons with low prices during the pandemic, recently higher fuel costs and demand outpacing supply as the economy reopens. Bank officials said they expected all three to be temporary and kept their stimulus efforts in place through March.

Separately, Eurostat said eurozone growth rose by 2.2% in the third quarter of the year, a tad higher from the previous quarter’s figure of 2.1%.


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