Inflation in the eurozone has fallen for the first time in 17 months, raising hopes that the biggest price surge for a generation has peaked and the European Central Bank will be able to shift to smaller interest rate rises next month.
A slowdown in energy and services prices helped inflation in the single currency bloc to fall more than expected to 10 per cent in November, down from a record 10.6 per cent in October, according to data from the EU’s statistics agency on Wednesday.
A drop in European wholesale energy prices combined with an easing of supply chain bottlenecks has recently fuelled hopes that eurozone inflation is slowing. US inflation also fell in October and global data indicators suggest that this year’s rampant global inflation has peaked.
Economists think the slowing rate of eurozone inflation makes it likely the ECB will raise rates 0.5 percentage points when its governing council meets on December 15, following two consecutive 0.75 point rises.
However, price growth in the bloc remains above the ECB’s 2 per cent target and some policymakers have argued it needs to keep raising rates aggressively even as inflation slows to avoid a damaging wage-price spiral taking hold.
The closely tracked measure of core inflation, which excludes more volatile energy and food prices to give economists a clearer idea of underlying price pressures, was unchanged at 5 per cent.