Euro zone inflation accelerated last month, providing further rationale for the European Central Bank's decision to dial back stimulus even as growth is slowing more sharply than most had forecast.
Consumer price growth in the 19 countries sharing the euro picked up to 2.2 percent in October from 2.1 percent last month, Eurostat said in a preliminary report, holding above the ECB's target of just below 2 percent for the fifth month running.
Having unleashed unprecedented stimulus over the past four years, the ECB is now slowly clawing back support, satisfied that inflation is moving back to target, even if higher oil prices are accounting for much of the recent rise.
Even underlying inflation picked up finally, a comforting sign for the bank as it has argued for months that rising wages and record high employment are bound eventually to push core prices higher, even if with a significant lag.
Indeed, inflation excluding food and fuel prices rose to 1.3 percent from 1.1 percent, slightly beating expectations. An even more narrow measure watched by market analysts, which also excludes alcohol and tobacco prices, rose to 1.1 percent from 0.9 percent.