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The European Central Bank (ECB) will meet on Thursday pressured by high inflation that is at risk of soaring if the Russian-Ukrainian conflict ends in a war; experts consider that, for the moment, it will not raise interest rates.

Prices in the euro zone, made up of 19 of the 27 countries of the European Union (EU), increased 5% in 2021, a record in 25 years, driven by energy tariffs (26%) and product shortages. and raw materials.

With what resulted in more than double the inflationary goal of the monetary bloc of 2 percent.

However, according to most experts, ECB governors should refrain from opening the way for a hike in its benchmark rate, currently at its all-time low of 0 percent.

An increase, these economists allege, would not currently help to fully control inflation and, on the contrary, it would slow down economic activity at a time when it is recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

Maintaining the status quo, without signaling a change, would contrast with the stance of the US Federal Reserve which has just announced an upcoming rate hike.

“Inflation in the euro zone is largely driven by a lack of supply and not by excessive demand or an overheating economy,” Elga Bartsch, chief economist at BlackRock, told AFP.

An eventual invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops would send energy prices skyrocketing, given that Russia is the main supplier of gas to the European Union and the fluid passes, in part, through Ukraine.

Inflation in Spain slows down

Inflation registered a slight decrease during January in Spain to stand at 6% per year, a level still close to the December record of 6.5%, according to a first estimate published yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

This setback, which follows several months of strong increases, is mainly explained by the “fall in the price of electricity compared to the rise registered in January 2021,” the INE stressed in a statement.

Relieve pressure in Germany

On the other hand, annual inflation in Germany slowed in January, but remained higher than expected by analysts and well above the European Central Bank’s price stability target of 2% for the euro zone as a whole, they showed. yesterday preliminary data.

Germany’s consumer price index, harmonized to make it comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries, rose 5.1% on a yearly basis, from 5.7% in December, the German Federal Statistical Office said.

The national consumer price index rose 4.9% in annual terms, which represents a decrease from the 5.3% level of December.

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