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French Inflation Unexpectedly Accelerates in March on Food, Oil

France’s inflation rate unexpectedly rose in March as higher food and energy prices countered a stagnant economic growth.

Consumer prices rose 2.6 percent from a year earlier based on European Union methodology, compared with a 2.5 percent increase in February, the Paris-based national statistics office, Insee, said today. Economists forecast a 2.3 percent gain, the median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

The higher inflation rate came in the face of a slowing economy and joblessness that has reached its highest level in 12 years in part because prices for food and energy continue to climb. Food prices were up 3.7 percent, while energy prices gained 6.5 percent.

“Energy got more expensive in March, lifted by the higher oil price,” Insee said today. “Food prices are up.”

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