LONDON — Inflation in Europe soared to another record, in a fresh sign that rising energy prices fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine are squeezing consumers and adding pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates.
Consumer prices in the 19 countries that use the euro currency rose by an annual rate of 7.5% in March, according to the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat.
The latest reading smashed the high set just last month, when it hit a revised 5.9%.
It’s the fifth straight month that inflation in the eurozone has set a record, bringing it to the highest level since recordkeeping for the euro began in 1997.
The spiking price of energy has been a major factor contributing to record inflation. Eurostat said energy costs rose 44.7% last month, up from 32% in February.
There were price increases for other categories of spending as well. Food, alcohol and tobacco costs rose 5%, compared with 4.2% in the prior month, while prices for goods like clothing, appliances, cars, computers and books rose 3.4%, up from 3.1%; and service prices rose 2.7%, versus the previous 2.5%.
Rising prices are a growing problem around the world. In the U.S., has inflation soared to a 40-year high of 7.9%.