High inflation in the eurozone eased off for the fourth straight month in February. Compared to the same month last year, consumer prices increased by 8.5 percent, as the statistics office Eurostat announced on Friday in Luxembourg after a second estimate. In January, the rate was still 8.6 percent. In a direct monthly comparison, prices rose by 0.8 percent in February, and the first estimate was also confirmed here.

However, the so-called core annual inflation rate, in which fluctuation-prone prices for energy and food are factored out, rose to 5.6 percent. This is a record level. In January it was still 5.3 percent. Overall inflation is being driven primarily by higher prices for food and luxury goods. By contrast, the increase in energy prices weakened again.

The rate of inflation was particularly high recently in the Baltic countries. In Latvia, for example, it was 20.1 percent. Luxembourg had the lowest rate at 4.8 percent. According to European calculations, it was 9.3 percent in Germany.

The medium-term inflation target of the European Central Bank (ECB) of two percent is still clearly exceeded. The central bank raised the key interest rate again by 0.5 points on Thursday, but left its further course of action open. Before the meeting, the recent financial market turbulence had fueled doubts about further interest rate hikes.