Business

Eurozone inflation rate jumps to 3% in September

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Last Updated at 13:57 GMT

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The eurozone inflation rate increased to 3% in September, up from 2.5% in August, according to the first estimate from the EU statistics agency.

No breakdown was given, but Eurostat said its initial forecasts were usually "reliable".

Separate figures also released by Eurostat showed the eurozone unemployment rate unchanged at 10% in August from the previous month.

The number of people unemployed fell by 38,000 compared with July.

The unemployment rate in Spain, the highest in Europe, rose slightly to 21.2%, with youth unemployment hitting 46.2%.

However, the jobless rate for those under 25 in the eurozone as a whole fell slightly, to 20.4%.

Falling shares

Analysts, who had expected a small rise in inflation, pointed to technical changes in the way price rises are calculated as a contributory factor in the sharp increase.

"It's not a nice number, but I wouldn't panic that the high inflation which some have warned about for years is finally here," said Martin Van Vliet at ING.

"We will see inflation declining over the next months, staying above 2.5% but next year, with stable oil and food prices, we will fall to lower levels."

The European Central Bank target for inflation is 2%, and the bank raised interest rates in July from 1.25% to 1.5% in order to combat rising prices.

However, the continuing debt crisis makes further rate rises in the coming months unlikely, analysts say.

With confidence in the outlook for economic growth in the eurozone fragile, policymakers are unlikely to risk raising rates, they say.

Equally, however, sharply rising prices make a cut in interest rates less likely.

This put further downward pressure on markets that fell sharply in early trading.

Germany's Dax index was down 2.5%, with France's Cac 40 and the UK's FTSE 100 sliding about 1.5%.

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