High inflation in the eurozone eased off for the fourth straight month in February. Consumer prices increased by 8.5 percent compared to the same month last year, according to an initial estimate from the Eurostat statistics office in Luxembourg.
In January, the rate was still 8.6 percent. Economists had expected a more significant decline to 8.3 percent. In a month-on-month comparison, prices rose by 0.8 percent in February.
The core annual inflation rate, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose surprisingly to 5.6 percent. This is a record level. Overall inflation is being driven primarily by higher prices for food and luxury goods. By contrast, the increase in energy prices weakened again.
The price target of the European Central Bank (ECB) of two percent in the medium term continues to be clearly exceeded. The central bank recently fought against high inflation with interest rate increases of 0.50 percentage points. At the interest rate meeting in mid-March, the financial markets are also firmly expecting a 0.50 point increase in key interest rates.