Official figures are expected to show inflation in the 19-country eurozone rose again in February — a development that would further galvanize critics of the European Central Bank’s stimulus efforts.
The inflation number to be announced Thursday could reach 1.9 percent thanks to rising oil prices, according to a survey of analyst estimates compiled by financial data provider FactSet. That would be up from 1.8 percent in January.
Germany, the biggest of the eurozone economies, has already announced that its inflation rate rose to 2.2 percent from 1.9 percent.
Rising inflation combined with low interest rates engineered by the central bank increase the pain felt by savers who are still getting near-zero returns on savings kept in conservative holdings such as bank deposits. And it has encouraged stimulus skeptics who think the ECB is close enough to its goal of bringing inflation sustainably to just below 2 percent that it can start thinking about when to signal a gradual exit from stimulus efforts slated to run through the end of this year.