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Euro zone producer prices surge in March, unemployment hits record low

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A shopper pays with a euro bank note in a market in Nice, France, April 3, 2019. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone producer prices surged more than expected in March as energy prices more than doubled year-on-year, data showed on Tuesday, while unemployment continued to fall hitting a new record low.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said prices at factory gates in the 19 countries sharing the euro jumped 5.3% month-on-month for a 36.8% year-on-year surge. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 5.0% monthly and a 36.3% annual rise.

Energy prices were up 11.1% on the month and 104.1% year-on-year as the Russian invasion of Ukraine boosted prices that were already rising because of the economic recovery after the pandemic.

Without energy, producer prices were up only 2.1% on the month and 13.6% year-on-year, pushed up by more expensive intermediate goods as some global supply chains remain impaired.

Euro zone unemployment fell to 6.8% of the workforce in March from 6.9% in February, as the number of people without jobs declined to 11.274 million from 11.350 million.

The tightening labour market is likely to put additional upward pressure on wages, already under pressure from the surging energy costs that have pushed consumer inflation to a record high of 7.5% in April.

Euro zone producer prices surge in March, unemployment hits record low

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