Eurozone inflation rises, unemployment at 8-yr low

Brussels (AFP) –


Eurozone inflation rose closer to the European Central Bank's 2.0 percent target in August confirming a tentative economic recovery in Europe, official EU figures showed Thursday.

The fresh data will reinforce hopes that, despite uncertainty and the unknowns of Brexit, the eurozone is emerging from the worst of the financial crisis that began in 2008.

Consumer prices in the 19-nation single currency area rose 1.5 percent, bolstering speculation that the ECB will roll back its crisis-fighting easy money policies as the euro area recovery picks up speed.

The ECB has set interest rates at record lows, offered cheap loans to banks and embarked on a 2.3-trillion-euro bond buying stimulus scheme in a bid to bolster growth and push inflation upwards.

It is currently scheduled to buy 60 billion euros in bonds a month until the end of the year, and analysts expect the bank to begin gradually winding down the scheme, known as quantitative easing (QE), next year.

The jobless rate in the 19-nation single currency area meanwhile remained stable at 9.1 percent, the lowest level since February 2009, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

Joblessness edged up in France and Italy in July, but fell in Germany, the eurozone's economic powerhouse.