Mario Draghi's job just became a little more difficult, because one day after the head of the ECB surprised markets with a more dovish statement than expected stressing risks for European inflation, on Friday morning Eurostat reported that Euro zone inflation rose by more than expected to the European Central Bank's target and core inflation increased to its highest level in four years.
Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro was 1.9 percent year-on-year, Eurostat estimated, up from 1.5 percent in March and just short of the four-year high of 2.0 percent recorded in February. The print was also above the 1.8% consensus estimate, even though German inflation data released on Thursday which also came in hotter than expected had prepared markets for a potential stronger figure for the bloc.
The April print (released before the month is even over) was also just shy of the ECB's medium-term target for inflation of 2 percent.
Overall inflation was higher primarily because of a 7.5% rise in energy prices and of 2.2% for unprocessed food. Prices for food, alcohol and tobacco went up by 1.5% in April, slightly lower than the 1.8% figure for March. In the services sector, the largest in the euro zone economy, prices rose by 1.8 percent in April, compared with 1.0 percent in March.
Core inflation, excluding volatile prices of energy and unprocessed food and which the European Central Bank monitors even more closely, jumped to 1.2% year-on-year in April from 0.8% in March, above market expectations of 1.0 percent. The core level was at its highest level since September 2013.
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