Inflation in the eurozone reached double-digits and yet another new record high in September, according to preliminary data, as the negative consequences of Russia's war in Ukraine continue to inflict a heavy toll on European economies.
Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency, estimates that inflation in the 19-country euro area reached 10.0% in September, up from 9.1% in August.
The latest climb in prices was fuelled by energy — the cost of which is now 40.8% higher than during the same month last year — while prices for food, alcohol and tobacco are believed to have soared by 11.8% year-on-year.
Baltic countries remain the most severely impacted with the inflation rates at 24.2%, 22.5% and 22.4% in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia respectively.
The lowest rate of 6.2% is observed in France with Malta and Finland following (7.3% and 8.4%).
The latest figures were released just as EU energy ministers reached an agreement at an extraordinary meeting in Brussels to curb high electricity prices.
These include a mandatory electricity demand reduction, a cap on the revenues of non-gas electricity producers (also known as inframarginal producers), and the capture of so-called excess profits from fossil fuel producers —the latter two of which aim to see billions of euros redistributed to vulnerable households and businesses.
Discussions are now expected to centre on how to bring down the price of gas which heavily influences the price of electricity in Europe.
The latest eurozone inflation reading is also likely to add pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to carry out more interest rate hikes. The Frankfurt-based institution operated its sharpest rise ever — and first hike in 11 years — earlier this month by pushing its three key interest rates by 75 basis points.
Its governing body said at the time that it expected to raise interests further over the "next several meetings" while forecasts were significantly revised upwards with inflation now seen at an average 8.1% this year and 5.5% in 2023. Economic growth meanwhile was seen slowing down to 3.1% this year and 0.9% next year.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned earlier this week that many countries across Europe, including economic powerhouse Germany, may be pushed into "a full-year recession in 2023", in case of winter energy disruptions.