Eurozone inflation accelerated more than expected to a record high in November driven by higher energy prices, flash estimate from Eurostat showed on Tuesday.
Annual inflation advanced to 4.9 percent in November from 4.1 percent in October. The rate was above the expected level of 4.5 percent.
Likewise, core inflation that excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, increased to a record 2.6 percent from 2 percent in October. Core inflation was forecast to advance to 2.3 percent.
"The Omicron variant has increased the level of uncertainty even further but for now we suspect that it will have a fairly small impact on inflation," Jack Allen-Reynolds, an economist at Capital Economics, said. Still, headline inflation looks set to remain above target until at least the end of next year.
With cyclical price pressures increasing medium-term expectations, the European Central Bank seems set for a careful tightening of monetary policy despite increased virus risks, Bert Colijn, an ING economist, said.
Among main components of inflation, Eurozone energy prices logged its biggest annual growth on record, up 27.4 percent. This was followed by a 2.7 percent rise in services cost. Non-energy industrial goods prices advanced 2.4 percent and cost of food, alcohol and tobacco moved up 2.2 percent.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices gained 0.5 percent in November.
Among big-four economies, Germany's inflation surged to 6.0 percent in November from 4.6 percent in the previous month. French inflation climbed to 3.4 percent from 3.2 percent a month ago.
Spain's harmonized inflation advanced to 5.6 percent from 5.4 percent. Similarly, Italy's inflation rose to 4 percent in November from 3.2 percent.