Eurozone inflation jumps higher on oil price spike

A big jump in energy prices has pushed inflation across the 19-country eurozone back to the European Central Bank's (ECB) goal in May, official figures showed.

Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency, said consumer prices were up by an annual rate of 1.9% in May, way ahead of April's 1.2%.

European Central Bank.

The sharp rise, which was slightly more than anticipated, means inflation is now at the ECB's goal of just below 2%.

The main reason behind the increase has been the sharp rise in oil prices.

Energy prices, according to Eurostat, were up 6.1% in the year to May, more than double April's 2.6%.

However, underlying inflation remains benign and that may rein in expectations that the ECB will use its upcoming meeting on June 14 to announce a reduction in its monetary stimulus efforts.

After stripping out the volatile items of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, inflation only rose to 1.1% from 0.7%.

Elsewhere, Eurostat said the eurozone's unemployment rate fell in April to a near-decade low of 8.5% from 8.6% the month before.

That is the lowest rate since December 2008, when unemployment was rising sharply during the global financial crisis.

The agency said unemployment fell 56,000 during the month, which took the jobless total down to 13.88 million.

- Press Association


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