Eurozone inflation eased more than expected in January, reaching an eight-month low, but price pressures persisted beyond energy as the European Central Bank gets ready for further interest-rate increases.
Consumer prices rose 8.5% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, down from a 9.2% increase in December, according to preliminary data from the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat released Wednesday.
This marks the lowest inflation rate since May, after three consecutive declines following a record high of 10.6% in October.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected inflation to fall to 9.1%.
The decline in inflation was driven by moderating energy prices, which increased by 17.2% compared with a 25.5% rise in December. However, food, alcohol and tobacco prices climbed 14.1% on year, accelerating from the 13.8% increase recorded the previous month.
The core inflation rate–which strips out the more volatile categories of food and energy–stood at 5.2% in January, unchanged from December.
The European Central Bank raised interest rates at an unprecedented pace in 2022 in order to tame high inflation. The bank is widely expected to raise interest rates by 50 basis points on Thursday, which would bring the deposit rate to 2.50%, and further increases are expected as the eurozone’s economy is proving more resilient than anticipated and inflation remains high.
Eurozone inflation data for January includes an estimate for Germany as the official release has been postponed to next week due to technical problems.
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