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Business

Eurozone Inflation Soars to Record High

Inflation in the 15-member eurozone shot up to a record four percent in June amid spiraling oil prices, according to preliminary estimates published by Eurostat on Monday.

A shopper in Paris

An increasingly rare sight as inflation begins to curb purchasing power in Europe

The figure is the highest since the consumer price index for Europe's single currency area was created and double the two percent annual inflation target set by the European Central Bank, adding pressure on its board to hike interest rates at its next meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday.

The European Union's statistical office had already been forced to revise up its May estimate to 3.7 per cent on the back of soaring energy and food prices.

Skyrocketing oil prices, which saw a barrel of crude rise to over $143 Monday, have been driving overall inflation to new records and curbing the purchasing power of consumers.

Record inflation has also triggered protests by fishermen and truckers across Europe recently. Hundreds of truckers staged new protests against high fuel prices across France on Monday, blocking main highways and snarling commuter traffic around Paris while union members blocked a Total Petrochemicals depot in southern Belgium.

Eurostat is due to publish final and detailed inflation figures for June on July 16. The office says its preliminary estimates usually reflect the final figure, with the maximum difference noted over the last two years being just 0.1 per cent.

The 15 EU countries that share the euro are Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland. Slovakia is due to join the club on January 1.

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