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German Inflation Accelerated to 2.2% in August on Oil

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Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Germany’s inflation rate rose for the first time in six months in August as energy prices increased.

Inflation, calculated using a harmonized European Union method, accelerated to 2.2 percent from 1.9 percent in July, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today, confirming an Aug. 29 estimate. In the month, consumer prices gained 0.4 percent, more than the initially reported 0.3 percent.

Oil prices have risen almost 25 percent since the end of June as a European Union embargo on crude purchases from Iran took full effect on July 1 and storms in the Gulf of Mexico crimped output. At the same time, Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is damping economic growth across the 17-nation euro area. European Central Bank policy makers on Sept. 6 agreed on an unlimited bond-purchase program aimed at regaining control of interest rates in countries like Spain or Italy.

“Rising energy prices currently are the one main reason for inflation,” said Jens Kramer, an economist at NordLB in Hanover. “In general, market participants aren’t very concerned about rising prices. All eyes are on the debt crisis in the euro area.”

ECB President Mario Draghi said last week that he expects euro-area inflation to drop below the bank’s 2 percent limit next year. The rate was at 2.6 percent in August.

Germany’s non-harmonized inflation rate rose to 2.1 percent in August from 1.7 percent in July, the statistics office said, revising up its Aug. 29 estimate. The main reasons for the increase were higher costs for heating oil and fuel, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Riecher in Frankfurt at sriecher@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net