Irish inflation eases to 8.6% but eurozone pressures point to no let-up in ECB rate hikes

Hefty pace of increases in energy and food products continues
Irish inflation eases to 8.6% but eurozone pressures point to no let-up in ECB rate hikes

The ECB is set to hike rates again.

Irish inflation eased to 8.6% in September, the latest Eurostat figures show, but the hefty pace of increases in energy and food products still suggest that there will be no major easing in price pressures or any reprieve from rate hikes any time soon. 

The inflation rate here is down from 9% in August and is significantly below this year's peak of 9.6% that was reached over the summer months but remains above May's level of 8.3%.  

It means that Ireland has the fourth lowest inflation rate in the eurozone and is also running below the 9.9% average for the eurozone as a whole. 

The 8.6% rate here is still by some distance behind France, which at 6.6% has the lowest level, and Malta's rate of 7.4%. Finland at 8.4% has the third lowest rate, the figures show.                   

However, Ireland going into the crisis already had one of the highest price levels in Europe. The inflation crisis started during as the world economy came out of the pandemic but surged when Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Russia is a significant supplier of gas and oil to Europe, while Ukraine is a major producer of wheat and other grains to global markets. 

The Eurostat figures are closely watched, and the latest figures offer little hope to home and business borrowers as the European Central Bank hikes interest rates to help stop the surge in prices spilling across all parts of the economy. 

The 9.9% eurozone rate is up from 9.1% in August and is up sharply from 3.4% in September last year.

Energy prices driving inflation

The latest figures show that energy prices predominantly, as well as food, are still driving inflation across most parts of Europe.

The highest inflation rates remain the Baltic states which are most closely bound in with Russian energy supplies. At over 24%, Estonia has the highest inflation rate in the eurozone, followed by Lithuania at 22.5% and Latvia's rate of 22%. 

Meanwhile, new figures showed British inflation rose to 10.1% in September, with markets betting that the Bank of England will hike interest rates by a full 1% at its next monetary meeting early next month.

The latest inflation report does little to ease up the political pressure on British prime minister Liz Truss, after a collapse in confidence by markets forced the new administration to abandon large parts of its mini-budget.

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