European consumers may have to watch their spending even more: An unexpected increase in eurozone inflation in March pushed up the annual rate to a 29-month high.
Consumers are receiving less for their money
Consumer prices continue to inch upward in the 17-member eurozone.
The bloc's inflation rate rose to 2.7 percent in March from 2.4 percent in February, the highest level since October 2008 when the rate reached 3.2 percent, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency.
Economists had expected no change from the preliminary March projection of 2.6 percent, which is also much higher than the European Central Bank's target of holding inflation under 2 percent.
Pricey fuel and housing
By comparison, the rate a year ago was 1.6 percent.
Higer fuel prices are fueling inflation
Eurosat listed transport fuels and housing with the highest inflation rates at 5.6 percent and 5.1 percent respectively. Rising prices for a number of consumer products such as alcohol and tobacco as well as shoes and clothing also helped drive the annual inflation rate higher.
Compared with February, annual inflation rose in 18 member states, remained stable in five and fell in four.
Ireland had the lowest annual rate, at 1.2 percent, and Romania the highest at 8.0 percent.
The higher March numbers, analysts say, are another sign that cost of borrowing will rise further.
Author: John Blau (dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer