Spanish Inflation Rate Rose Further Above ECB Goal in February

  • Consumer prices accelerated 3%, fastest in more than 4 years
  • Energy bills have jumped markedly since January on weather

Spanish inflation accelerated further above the European Central Bank’s price stability mandate, coinciding with an increase in utility bills.

Consumer prices, calculated using an EU-harmonized method, rose 3 percent in February from a year earlier, according to preliminary data released by the Madrid-based National Statistics Office. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted an increase of 3.1 percent. From January, prices fell 0.3 percent, with electricity costs contributing to the decline.

After prices slumped in the past three years as Spain struggled to recover from its worst recession in democratic history, the euro area’s fourth-largest economy is now recording one of the region’s fastest inflation rates that by far exceeds the ECB’s goal of just under 2 percent. While the data didn’t include a breakdown, economists attribute the recent surge mostly to higher oil prices and energy bills amid poor weather.

Energy Minister Alvaro Nadal said last month consumers should get used to more expensive energy, noting that bills could jump by approximately 100 euros ($106) this year. Economy Minister Luis de Guindos has described the increase as temporary, noting that inflation would come down to levels below 2 percent in the second quarter.