Eurozone CPI rises to four-year high as expected

Mar 04, 2017, 00:47
Eurozone CPI rises to four-year high as expected

With overall savings of five trillion euros and interest rates at zero, an inflation of 2.0 percent means German savers are basically losing 100 billion euros per year, Bavaria's Finance Minister Markus Soeder said on Wednesday.

The EU28 unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in January versus 8.2 percent in December.

Inflation in the 19-nation bloc touched 2% in February, details Eurostat, up from a rate of 1.8% the month before and the highest since January 2013 and is slightly above the ECB's target of just below 2%.

ECB President Mario Draghi has previously warned that the central bank will not tighten policy in response to a "short lived" surge in inflation.

Inflation in Germany rose in February, reaching its highest level in four-and-a-half years, mainly due to more expensive energy and food. Figures released Thursday by Eurostat showed the eurozone's jobless rate held at 9.6 percent in January, its lowest level since May 2009.

Though the inflation rate's rise in recent months has surprised many observers, there is a consensus that inflationary pressures will start to fade in the middle of 2017 when prior oil price rises fall out of the annual comparison.

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She said the firm expects the bank will keep its commitment to its continuing its bond buying programme until the end of the year, and longer if necessary.

Analyst Michael Schubert at Commerzbank said that while some ECB council members want the bank to start thinking about ending its extraordinary stimulus efforts, "our analysis indicates that opponents of an early exit have a solid majority" on the bank's 25-member governing council.

February was the third straight month the rate rose higher than expected, said FawadRazaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com. Those figures are due on Thursday.

In December, the European Central Bank announced an extension of its bond-buying program to the end of this year from a tentatively scheduled conclusion in March, although it cut the monthly value of purchases.

The ECB is now coming under increasing pressure - particularly from the German government - to scale back on that stimulus. A sustained rebound in German inflation gives Bundesbank President and European Central Bank rate setter Jens Weidmann more grounds to argue for a reduction in the bond-buying programme, a scheme that he has often criticised. But he underlined Wednesday what he considers the unwanted side effects of the ECB's efforts.

Markit economist Trevor Balchin said he expected Germany's quarterly growth rate to accelerate to at least 0.6 percent in the first three months of 2017 from 0.4 percent in the final three months of 2016.

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