Eurozone inflation at 2% makes Draghi's job more hard

Eurozone inflation increased at the fastest pace in more than four years in February to exceed the European Central Bank target, but policymakers are likely to sit tight for now as core price growth remained stable. See a full breakdown here Bundesbank backlash With federal elections set for September in Germany, the inflation figures are likely to fuel debate about an end to the European Central Bank's stimulus through a loose monetary policy.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile items such as energy and food, stood at a low level of merely 0.9 percent in February.

The headline harmonised consumer price index for the euro area rose to 2.0% from 1.8% in January, according to Eurostat, with energy and food prices up 9.2% and 2.5% year-on-year respectively. It was the highest annual inflation rate since August 2012.

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Analyst Michael Schubert at Commerzbank said that while some ECB council members want the bank to start thinking about ending its extraordinary stimulus efforts, "our analysis indicates that opponents of an early exit have a solid majority" on the bank's 25-member governing council. The firm suspects it will fall back later in the year as year-on-year energy prices moderate. Eurozone inflation last November was still at 0.6%, before rising to 1.1% in December and 1.8% in January.

The German economy grew by 1.9 percent previous year, driven by strong private consumption, increased state spending and higher construction investment, and it is expected to carry its growth momentum through into 2017.

Reflecting high inflationary pressure in the pipeline, producer price inflation more-than-doubled to 3.5 percent in January from 1.6 percent in December.

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With unemployment still high, a significant rise in pay deals seems unlikely over coming months.

Eurostat also estimates that the number of unemployed people in the eurozone fell by 56,000 to 15.6m in February in a statement at the end of today's inflation release.

The ECB may need to see a further strengthening of the jobs market before it can be sure that inflation is on course to rise to and stay at its target.

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"Unemployment is so high, it could take years to get down to a level consistent with inflation rising", said David Owen, chief European economist at Jefferies.


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