Inflation in the euro zone rose in March, confounding economists expectations of a small decline.
The stronger than forecast figure came one week before the European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates to keep inflation from growing further.
The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat did not release details, but economists said higher oil and clothing prices were likely behind the increase.
Eurostat estimated that consumer prices in the 17 countries using the euro jumped to 2.6 percent year-on-year in March, up from 2.4 percent in February and 2.3 percent in January.
European Central Bank policymakers signalled early in March they could put up the cost of borrowing next week and make further increases through the rest of the year to tackle rising prices.
The expectation is the benchmark interest rate will go up from 1.00 percent to 1.25 percent in April, rising to 1.75 percent by the end of the year.