Europe News

Euro zone inflation dips; Italian jobless hits record


Euro zone inflation fell again in November amid expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) could try to bolster the region's economy by announcing further stimulus measures.

Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in November from the same period a year earlier, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union. This is down from 0.4 percent in October and in line with market expectations.

Read MoreEurope's economy faces three major risks: Draghi

The single currency fluctuated in morning trade on Friday amid a slew of economic news. After the inflation number the euro rose to around 1.2446 against the greenback after trading at 1.2435 beforehand.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"The scale of the disinflation problem facing the ECB becomes increasingly concerning as time progresses," Colin Bermingham, an economist at BNP Paribas said in a research note after the release.

"Three of the big four euro zone economies have reported inflation for November and all three are below 0.5 percent (year-on-year)."

Italy jobless hits record

Meanwhile, unemployment figures for October showed a reading of 11.5 percent for the euro zone, holding steady from September. Italy was the major drag with the struggling nation's numbers reaching a record higher of 13.2 percent in October.

This is the highest the figure has ever been since records began back in 1977. The youth unemployment rate - those aged between 15 and 24 - came in at 43.3 percent, adding 0.6 percentage points in a month, according to the statistics agency Istat.

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ECB stimulus?

The inflation data come at a key time for the ECB, just days ahead of its next policy meeting on Thursday. The bloc has been staring down the barrel of negative growth and weak demand, with tensions in Ukraine pressuring Germany in particular.

Market watchers have been busy this week placing bets on whether Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, will announce more stimulus, even as soon as next week.

The central bank has already initiated some credit easing measures but there is speculation that Draghi could add a large-scale bond-buying program, commonly called quantitative easing or "QE".

Draghi was in the spotlight on Thursday morning speaking at an event in Finland. He once again stressed the downside risks for the bloc's economy and said that the ECB's Governing Council was unanimous in its commitment to use further instruments if needed. He added that monetary policy alone cannot do all the heavy lifting.

Read MoreFrench,German economists' plan to beat 'stagnation'

Bermingham expected that the ECB would lower its projections for 2015 inflation at its meeting next week. And these downward revisions would be key to justifying an expansion of their asset purchase programs, he added.

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