Eurozone inflation beats expectations to hit four-month high in August

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Inflation in the eurozone picked up markedly in August and the jobless rate remained at its lowest level for over eight years, underpinning expectations that the European Central Bank will soon announce a gradual withdrawal from its massive stimulus programs.

Germany's 10-year bond yield dipped to 0.36 percent, trimming earlier rises, while southern European bond yields fell 2-3 bps.

ECB head Mario Draghi has said that the programme will continue until the central bank is happy that inflation is consistent with its medium-term target of just below 2 percent. On the month, prices rose 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, growth in energy prices increased to 4 percent from 2.2 percent. This was the highest since April and above the expected rate of 1.4 percent.

The euro zone will publish preliminary inflation data for August on Thursday.

Core inflation that excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, held steady at 1.2 percent in August.

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The German economy grew 0.7 percent on the quarter in the January-March period and by 0.6 percent in the second quarter, driven by domestic demand as consumers and authorities are benefiting from high employment and low borrowing costs.

While ECB stimulus has pushed euro zone growth to over 2 percent, the fastest since 2011, inflation is expected to undershoot the bank's target at least through 2019.

The ECB is now still implementing a €2 trillion asset purchase programme, begun in 2015, which was created to stave off the threat of deflation.

Led by Jens Weidmann, the President of the powerful Bundesbank who has already called for a "quick and orderly" exit - they argue that no extension of what is an emergency monetary tool is warranted given rapid growth.

The sources said no policy proposals had been made and the formal discussion within the ECB's governing council would only begin next week as agreed at the July meeting. But she added that the pick up was not sharp and did not apply for the entire bloc.


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