When the economy slows down in the Eurozone, inflation rises by 10.7%.
By the end of October, consumer prices had risen by more than 10% in most countries that use the euro.
Consumer prices in countries that use the euro as their currency rose at a staggering 10.7% annual rate in October, according to a report released by the European Commission on Monday. During the same time period, the continent's economy grew by 0.2%.
Since last year, prices have continued to rise, as extremely high energy and food prices continue to push inflation to record highs. Last year, energy prices rose 41.9%, while food prices rose 13.1%.
More than half of the 19 countries in the euro zone had inflation rates of more than 10% in the year leading up to October. These countries include Germany (11.6%), the Netherlands (16.8%), Italy (12.8%), and Slovakia (14.5%). The Baltic states have the highest rates, over 21%.
The inflation rate in the euro zone was 9.9 percent in September. Back a year ago, it was at 4.1%.
An economist at London Business School, Lucrezia Reichlin, said, "This is a huge acceleration." "Inflation is getting worse overall."
Although overall economic growth slowed from 0.8 percent in the second quarter (April, May, and June), some countries did better than analysts expected. Germany has the largest economy in Europe. Its economy grew 0.3% in the third quarter, which was partly due to consumer spending. The Italian economy grew 0.5% and the Swedish economy grew 0.7%. Growth slowed elsewhere. In France and Spain, the growth rate rose only 0.2%. Austria and Belgium both experienced 0.1% declines in their economies.
In the European Union, which consists of 27 countries, growth also rose 0.2% in the third quarter.
The International Monetary Fund has warned that "European policymakers face severe trade-offs and difficult policy choices as they deal with a toxic mix of low growth and high inflation that could get worse."
Many economies around the world are having trouble with inflation, and that may get worse, especially as Russia pulls out of a deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain, which is likely to drive up food prices.
One way to look at it is that consumer prices in the US rose by 6.2% from September last year to September this year. This was reported by the US last week. During the same time period, the inflation rate in the UK was 8.8%.
The central bank seems very confident that it wants to stop the gains. Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, said last week that inflation remains too high and will stay above target for a long time. He said this after announcing that the bank raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point for the second time in a row.
The International Monetary Fund has also told central bankers to continue doing what they are doing, even if it takes until next year. It said that "nearly half of Europe's recent rise in core inflation remains unexplained by its usual drivers." This suggests that the war in Ukraine and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic are contributing to the new inflation trend.
When policymakers meet on Wednesday, they will likely raise interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point. This will be the sixth increase this year. At its meeting on Thursday, the Bank of England is also likely to raise interest rates by the same amount.
Higher interest rates hurt consumers and borrowers in the United States, but in other parts of the world it's even more detrimental. Investors are attracted to higher interest rates, which drive up the value of the dollar. But for developing countries with large debts paid in dollars, their already heavy burdens are becoming even more severe. At the same time, it becomes much more expensive for countries that need to buy American goods or things like energy and food which are often priced in dollars. This makes these countries poorer.
Most economists have called for a firm stance on inflation, but a growing number of people are wondering if the central bank is going too far, too soon. Higher interest rates won't make oil, wheat, and microchips pop out of nowhere, and could even exacerbate shortfalls by stifling investment.
People also worry that efforts to stop inflation will accelerate the fall of countries into recession by stopping investment and causing unemployment to rise. Several analysts said Monday that they think growth will slow in the final three months of the year.
Andrew Kenningham, chief European economist at Capital Economics, said in a report that the euro zone was "heading for a deeper recession and higher inflation than most expected."