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Eurozone sees record inflation in March

The war in Ukraine and the economic impact of the COVID pandemic in China are continuing to drive a rise in prices, the EU's statistical office says. Inflation has reached the highest rate since the euro was introduced.

Hand taking a €100 note from a wallet

Consumers in the eurozone are getting far less bang for their buck

Prices for goods and services in the eurozone reached an all-time high in March amid spiraling energy prices caused partly by the conflict in Ukraine, the European Union's statistical office said on Thursday.

Eurostat revised its previous estimated year-on-year inflation rate for consumer prices in March to 7.4% in its definitive assessment, down from an earlier assessment of of 7.5%. 

That is far above the 2% rate targeted as optimal by the European Central Bank's (ECB) policy. 

The year-on-year inflation rate in February was 5.9%.

Watch video 02:41

Food security under threat from Ukraine war

What is causing the rising inflation?

ECB experts believe that Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing conflict will continue to drive inflation for some time.

The main inflationary factor is the massively rising cost of energy. Energy prices rose 44% in March in a year-on-year comparison.

The harsh anti-COVID measures imposed in China as part of its zero-COVID strategy have, however, also contributed to global inflation, with Chinese economic hubs sometimes severely impacted by lockdowns.

The current inflation rate is the highest recorded since the EU's common euro currency was introduced in 1999.

Watch video 26:01

The economic toll of the war in Ukraine

tj/wmr (dpa, Reuters)