Inflation in the 19-member eurozone has reached levels not seen for over two years, but is still far too low to satisfy governors at the European Central Bank. Third-quarter growth was steady, Eurostat reported.Annual eurozone inflation hit a more than two-year high of 0.5 percent in October, the European statistics office, Eurostat, announced Monday on the basis of preliminary calculations.
Prices for goods and services in the 19-member bloc thus rose a tad faster than in the previous months when inflation came in at 0.4 percent. But despite the pickup, the level reached is way below what the European Central Bank recommends for a balanced economy, which it says is an annualized inflation rate of close to 2 percent.
The lender had already lowered its benchmark financing rate to zero and kicked off a huge bond-buying program to crank up the economy and fuel inflation, but with limited success so far.
In December, the ECB has to decide whether to extend its bond purchase scheme beyond the end of March next year and whether to alter it regarding its volume.
Destatis noted that a stronger uptick of consumer prices in October was again prevented by energy costs going down by 0.9 percent in a year-on-year comparison.
Economy chugging along
The statistics office also made its first estimate regarding growth in the euro area. It said gross domestic product in the bloc increased by 0.3 percent in the third quarter, mirroring the gains recorded a quarter earlier.
Destatis singled out Spain, with its economy expanding by 0.7 percent in the July to September period, while the bloc’s second-largest economy, France, saw its GDP rise by 0.2 percent.
Brussels will provide more details on the eurozone’s economic development on November 15, incorporating third-quarter growth data from Germany which are not yet available.
hg/sri (dpa, Reuters)