Eurozone: Inflation confirmed above ECB target in February
March 16, 2017
Complete data released by Eurostat on 16 March confirmed that harmonized inflation in the Eurozone was 2.0% in February, above January’s 1.8% and the highest reading since January 2013. The result was in line with the preliminary estimate and above the European Central Bank’s target of close to, but below 2.0%. According to Eurostat, a sharp rise in energy prices along with an increase in food, alcohol and tobacco prices drove the result. Annual average inflation rose from 0.4% in January to 0.5% in February, an over two-year high.
Core inflation remained muted however, and was steady at January’s 0.9%. Meanwhile, harmonized consumer prices rose 0.4% on a monthly basis, contrasting January’s 0.8% fall.
Looking at the countries in the common-currency bloc, 9 of the 19 Eurozone economies showed inflation rates equal to or above the regional average. Estonia (3.4%), Belgium (3.3%) and Latvia (3.2%) were the economies with the highest rates. On the other side of the spectrum, Ireland (0.3%) had the lowest price pressures by far. Among the largest economies in the Eurozone, Spain saw the highest inflation (3.0%), followed by Germany (2.2%). Meanwhile, inflation was below the region’s average in Italy (1.6%) and France (1.4%).