Europe News

Euro zone inflation hits highest level since September 2013

Pau Barrena | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Consumer prices across the euro area reached a high not seen for almost four years, jumping 1.1 percent in December, the EU's statistical office reported Wednesday.

The flash estimate indicated that inflation in the region reached its highest level since September of 2013, mainly supported by a surge in energy prices.

In November, Eurostat reported that consumer prices had a 0.6 percent increase on a yearly basis. At the time the numbers had also been supported by energy prices. However, the Eurostat believes that the increase in energy prices moved from -1.1 percent in November to 2.5 percent last month.

Wednesday's figures should ease inflation concerns among European Central Bank officials.

The central bank continues to carry out a loose monetary policy stance in an attempt to boost inflation back to its 2 percent target. It decided last month to extend its quantitative easing program until at least until the end of this year, even though it will decrease its monthly purchase level from April.

Also on Wednesday, data showed a strong end of year activity for businesses across the euro zone. Final composite purchasing manager's index for the euro area increased to 54.4 in December, the highest level since May 2011, IHS Markit reported.

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