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Eurozone inflation spikes to highest in over 3 years

BRUSSELS _ Official figures show that inflation across the 19-country eurozone spiked in December to its highest rate in more than three years, largely on the back of rising energy costs.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, says Wednesday that the annual inflation rate rose to 1.1 per cent in December from November’s 0.6 per cent. December’s rate is the highest since Sept. 2013, when inflation also stood at 1.1 per cent.

The figures are likely to cheer policymakers at the European Central Bank who have sought to get inflation toward the target of just below 2 per cent.

Still, there may be some concern that, when excluding energy costs, inflation remains muted. The core rate, which strips out volatile items like energy and food, rose to only 0.9 per cent from the previous month’s 0.8 per cent.