European inflation hits 24-year high as energy prices surge

European consumer prices are rising at their fastest pace since 1997.

Annual inflation across the 19 countries that use the euro, including Europe’s largest economies Germany, France, Italy and Spain, hit 4.9% in November, driven mainly by soaring energy prices, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics office.

That’s the highest rate since 1997, when the European Union started collecting data in preparation for the launch of the euro two years later, and up from 4.1% in October.

According to Eurostat’s flash estimate, energy prices rose by 27.4% in November. Services inflation was 2.7%.

“The surge in headline inflation continues to be mainly driven by higher energy prices, but core inflation also saw a surprisingly strong increase, likely linked to a surge in German package holiday prices,” Katharina Koenz, an economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a research note.

The figures came a day after Europe’s biggest economy Germany estimated consumer prices rose by 5.2% in November. German inflation broke above 4% for the first time in nearly 30 years in September.

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