The slow-and-steady march of higher prices across the Eurozone took another step forward today, as inflation climbed to its highest level in more than two years.
Prices across the 19-member single currency area rose by 0.4 per cent in the year to September, according a flash estimate produced by Eurostat. That was up from 0.2 per cent in July and August and marks the fastest set of rising prices since the oil price slide began in July 2014.
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However, the climb back towards the European Central Bank (ECB)'s official "below, but close to two per cent" target is set to be a slow one. Core inflation, which strips out the most volatile goods and is often seen as a more reliable long-term indicator, held unchanged at 0.8 per cent, against expectations for an increase towards a number which didn't begin with a zero.
Jobs figures out this morning also disappointed. The headline unemployment rate for the Eurozone remained unchanged at 10.1 per cent in August. Economists had expected it to drop down to 10 per cent to set a new post-crisis low.
Combined, the weak core inflation and slowdown in job creation imply "weak price pressures", according to Capital Economics, which should strengthen the case for the ECB to act in terms of extending its €80bn (£69bn) a month quantitative easing programme beyond its current end-date of March 2017.