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High energy prices push inflation to nearly 9% in 19 euro-using countries

July 29 (UPI) -- A sharp rise in energy prices aided by Russia's war in Ukraine has helped fuel rising inflation in countries that use the euro, official statistics said on Friday.

According to the figures by Eurostat, prices in the eurozone nations reached a record-high 8.9% over the past 12 months.

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The July inflationary increase was up from 8.6% in June. Energy costs rose 42% and continue to be heavily affected by the fighting in Ukraine, which has severely disrupted global energy markets.

Energy prices were expected to continue to rise at a high clip of 39.7% in July.

"Energy is expected to have the highest annual rate in July, followed by food, alcohol and tobacco, non-energy industrial goods and services," Eurostat said in a statement.

While the inflation spike is connected with Ukraine, prices in the 19-nation eurozone have been on the rise since last August when inflation stood at 3.2% and steadily increased over the past 12 months.

Inflation later rose to 5.6% in January, a month before the war in Ukraine, and then 6.2% in February.

Despite the high inflation, economic health in the eurozone was up in the most recent quarter, Eurostat said. Gross domestic product in the zone increased 0.7% for the second quarter and 0.6% in the European Union. The rise follows a 0.5% increase in the first quarter.

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