Eurozone inflation rocketed to its highest ever level in November as energy prices sent the cost of living soaring

Eurozone inflation rocketed to its highest ever level in November as energy prices sent the cost of living soaring
Prices have soared across the eurozone.Chesnot/Getty Images
  • Eurozone inflation soared to 4.9% in November, according to a flash estimate released Tuesday.
  • That's the highest ever level for inflation in the 19-member currency bloc, and well above the European Central Bank's 2% target.

Eurozone inflation rose at its fastest ever rate in November, as a jump in energy prices and snags in global supply chains sent the cost of living soaring.

The rate of consumer prices in the 19-member currency bloc was up 4.9% year-on-year in November, according to an early estimate released by Eurostat Tuesday. That's the highest figure since the eurozone was founded in the late 1990s.

November's inflation print came in above economists' expectations of 4.5% and significantly higher than October's figure of 4.1%.

Inflation is now far above the European Central Bank's target of 2%, adding to the pressure on the central bank. The ECB has said so far that strong inflation will be transitory and has pledged to keep up its support for the economy.

German inflation increased 6% in November compared with a year earlier, the country's highest reading since 1992. French inflation hit 3.4%, its highest level since 2008.

The euro was last up 0.6% to $1.136, on a day when markets were shaken by fears about the new Omicron coronavirus variant.


Energy prices have been the key factor pushing up inflation across Europe in 2021.

Natural gas prices in particular have skyrocketed as economies have lifted coronavirus restrictions, stoking demand. A cold 2020 winter and competition with China has also squeezed supplies.

"The latest data suggest that price pressures remain intense, with producer price inflation strong and firms' selling price expectations extremely high," Jack Allen-Reynolds, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics, said.

"While energy effects are almost certain to bring the headline rate down next year, high input costs look set to keep goods inflation unusually strong for some time."

Yet even with the prices of energy and food removed, core inflation still jumped 0.6 percentage points to 2.6% year-on-year in November, the highest level on record.


Allen-Reynolds said the impact of the new Omicron coronavirus variant is uncertain.

"Lower oil prices will reduce energy inflation, but if the variant exacerbates global demand-supply imbalances, goods inflation could be higher for longer," he said.