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Euro Zone Inflation Jumps to 29-Month High

Euro zone inflation defied expectations of a small decline and surged higher in March, an early estimate showed on Thursday, a week before the European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates to stem price growth.

EU building flags brussels
EyesWideOpen | Getty Images
EU building flags brussels

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat estimated that consumer prices in the 17 countries using the euro jumped 2.6 percent year-on-year in March, up from 2.4 percent in February. Economists polled by Reuters had expected 2.3 percent.

The Eurostat estimate does not contain a monthly figure or a more detailed breakdown, but the faster price growth is mainly likely to be a result of rising oil prices.

The ECB, which wants to keep inflation below, but close to 2 percent, signaled in early March that it would raise its main refinancing ratein April in reaction to the fast rise of commodity prices.