Eurozone inflation remains dangerously high | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 14.03.2012
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Eurozone inflation remains dangerously high

Consumer prices in the European Union and the euro area in particular rose again in February, exceeding the ECB's inflation target of two percent which it defines as the threshold for price stability.

Eurozone member countries experienced yet another hike in consumer prices in February, the European Statistics Office (Eurostat) reported on Wednesday.

Inflation in the euro area was put at 2.7 percent, the same as in the previous two months. In November of last year, the inflation rate even hit three percent. The European Central Bank (ECB) maintains that any rate above two percent gravely jeopardizes price stability.

Eurostat said the repeated rise in consumer prices in February was first and foremost a result of increased energy costs, including gasoline and petroleum prices which made transportation more expensive.

But the picture was anything but homogeneous in the euro area, the Statistics Office reported. Estonia had the highest inflation rate in February, logging a 4.4-percent increase in prices.

Silver lining

By contrast, debt-stricken Greece posted the lowest inflation rate at 1.7 percent, followed by Spain where inflation reached 1.9 percent.

Spanish inflation thus fell to its lowest level since August 2010 and dropped by 0.1 percent month-on-month. Although transportation costs soared due to higher oil prices in the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy, the negative impact on prices was to a large extent offset by a 3.5-percent drop in telecommunications costs, the national statistics office said in a statement.

For Germany, Eurostat reported an inflation rate of 2.5 percent in February, while the rate for the entire EU last month was put at three percent.

hg/nk (dpa, AFP)