BERLIN, March 1 German inflation accelerated
further in February, reaching its highest level in
four-and-a-half years and surpassing the European Central Bank's
price stability target of just under 2 percent, preliminary data
showed on Wednesday.
German consumer prices, harmonised to compare with other
European countries (HICP), rose by 2.2 percent on the year after
an increase of 1.9 percent in January, the Federal Statistics
This was the highest annual inflation rate since August 2012
and came in slightly stronger than a Reuters consensus forecast
of 2.1 percent.
On a non-harmonized basis, annual inflation also picked up
to 2.2 percent after 1.9 percent in January.
Rising energy prices and higher food costs again were the
main drivers behind the overall increase in February, a
breakdown of the non-harmonized data showed.
With a federal election set for September, the inflation
figures are likely to fuel calls for an end to the European
Central Bank's loose monetary policy.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Joseph Nasr)