Inflation in the euro area picked up more than economists predicted, setting the stage for European Central Bank policy makers to debate the future of their stimulus program.Consumer prices rose 1.5 percent in August after 1.3 percent in July, the European Union’s statistics office said on Thursday. That’s the highest reading in four months and exceeds the median forecast of 1.4 percent in a Bloomberg survey.
The acceleration, which is almost exclusively due to energy prices, follows stronger than expected inflation readings for Germany and Spain earlier this week. Euro-area core inflation, which strips out volatile elements such as food and fuel, held at a tepid 1.2 percent.
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