Eurozone inflation accelerated to its fastest pace in more than two and a half years, according to initial November estimates from the region's official statistics office, as loose monetary policy slowly works its way into the real economy.
Headline consumer prices rose 0.6% in November from the same period last year, according to Eurostat's 'flash' inflation estimate, up from 0.5% in the previous month and the fastest pace of gains since April 2014. So-called core inflation, however, which strips out volatile food, energy, alcohol and tobacco prices, remained stuck at 0.8% for the fourth consecutive month.
The figures will provide some relief for the European Central Bank, which targets an inflation rate of "just below 2%", as it prepares for its final policy meeting of the year next Thursday in Frankfurt. However, the slow pace of advance, particularly in core prices, will likely not alter expectations that the Bank will extend its €1.5 billion program of quantitative easing past the March 2017 deadline.
"Our latest introductory statement says that we remain committed to preserving the very substantial degree of monetary accommodation which is necessary to secure a sustained convergence of inflation towards levels below, but close to, 2% over the medium term," ECB President Mario Draghi told Spain's 'El Pais' newspaper in an interview published Wednesday.
"We can deliver the appropriate stance by different combinations of instruments, for instance the amount of monthly purchases or the length of time over which they take place," he added. "I won't prejudge the debate on the various options."
The euro was little-changed following the inflation release and was marked at 1.0643 against the U.S. dollar at 10:15 GMT.