The annual inflation rate in the eurozone was estimated at 5% in December, up from a record 4.9% in November, according to a first flash estimate published by Eurostat.
The European statistics office has never recorded such a figure since it began estimating inflation in January 1997 for the 19 countries that have adopted the single currency, Belga News Agency reports.
The 4.9% recorded in November 2021 was already a record-breaking high.
These latest figures are well above the European Central Bank’s (ECB) target of 2% inflation in the eurozone, but the ECB believes that this inflation is transitory and should decline in 2023, after peaking in 2022.
Inflation across various sectors
The energy sector saw the highest annual rate of inflation in December (26%, compared to 27.5% in November), followed by food, alcohol and tobacco (3.2%, compared to 2.2% in November), industrial goods excluding energy (2.9%, compared to 2.4% in November) and services (2.4%, compared to 2.7% in November), the European statistics office said.
The inflation rate for Belgium last month was estimated at 6.5%.
Among the large countries, Spain (6.7%) and Germany (5.7%) experienced the highest increases last month, exceeding the European average. Prices remained more moderate in Italy (4.2%) and especially in France (3.4%), according to harmonised European data calculated by Eurostat.
Inflation was also particularly high in the Baltic States, with the highest level for the euro area recorded by Estonia (12%), ahead of Lithuania (10.7%). The smallest price increases were in Malta (2.6%) and Finland (3.2%).