French annual inflation jumps to 17-year high
The annual inflation rate, powered by increased food and energy prices, was up 3.2 percent.15 April 2008
PARIS - France's annual inflation rate jumped to a near-17-year high of 3.2 percent in March, powered by food and energy prices, the statistics institute INSEE reported Tuesday.
Compared to February, French consumer prices were up 0.8 percent, their sharpest monthly surge since 1987.
The annual figure for March was the highest reading since August 1991 and came after a 2.8 percent rise in February from the same month in 2007.
Energy prices were up 2.7 percent in March from February and 12.7 percent compared with March 2007. Food prices gained 0.4 percent from February and 5.3 percent on the year, according to INSEE.
Excluding energy, French consumer prices rose an annual 2.4 percent in March.
Mounting inflationary pressure in the 15-nation eurozone has preoccupied policymakers at the European Central Bank, preventing them from lowering interest rates to spur flagging growth.
Eurozone consumer prices rose 3.5 percent in annual terms in March, their highest level since the creation of the euro in 1999 and well beyond the European Central Bank inflation target of just under 2.0 percent.
The head of the Bank of France, Christian Noyer, on Monday said prices in the eurozone had risen to "very excessive levels, well beyond our objective for price stability".
[AFP / Expatica]