Inflation in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, accelerated to the fastest pace in more than two years in December, led by higher energy costs.
The inflation rate, calculated using a harmonized European method, increased to 1.9 percent from 1.6 percent in November, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today, confirming an initial estimate published on Dec. 29. That’s the fastest since October 2008. In the month, consumer prices jumped 1.2 percent, the biggest gain since December 2002.
The German economy has powered the euro region’s expansion as companies stepped up hiring and output to meet export demand, encouraging consumer spending. With unemployment at the lowest in almost two decades, companies have more room to pass on surging oil costs as cold temperatures boost energy demand.
“Inflation is mainly driven by a jump in energy costs, with cold temperatures definitely playing a major part,” said Gebhard Stadler, an economist at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich. “Gains should weaken somewhat from March, however.”
The statistics office said on Dec. 29 that 2010 inflation was “notably driven by price rises in light heating oil and fuels, as well as in fruit and vegetables.”
In 2010, inflation averaged 1.2 percent, the statistics office said today. Non-harmonized inflation accelerated to 1.7 percent in December from 1.5 percent. On the month, prices increased 1 percent.
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