Eurozone consumer prices lifted by jump in energy costs

MarketsAssociated Press

The inflation rate in the 19-country eurozone has risen further, but largely because of a global rise in oil prices.

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The European Union's statistics agency said Friday that the annual inflation rate hit 2 percent in June, up from 1.9 percent in May. An 8 percent surge in the cost of energy was the biggest contributor.

Stripping out volatile items like energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, the inflation rate actually declined, to 1 percent from 1.1 percent.

Higher inflation is often a sign of a strengthening economy, but the rise in energy costs is expected to hurt the region.

Overall, analysts say that the figures mean the European Central Bank will likely remain on track to phase out its stimulus program and start raising interest rates late next year.