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Eurozone inflation drops to under double digits

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Eurozone inflation dropped to under double digits for the first time in three months and its lowest point since August, giving Europeans a small dose of economic relief at the end of 2022, officials said.

Eurostat, the statistical agency for the European Union, said the inflation rate for December was 9.2% compared to 2021, dropping from 10.1% in November and 10.6% in October. It was the lowest inflation group since August, when inflation came in at 9.1%.

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According to Eurostat, Spain enjoyed the lowest inflation rate at 5.6% while many of the Baltic states continued to get hit hard by price increases as Latvia and Lithuania suffered inflation rates of more than 20%.

Core inflation, which does not include energy and food, rose to a new record of 5.2% in December from 5% in November. Core inflation numbers are often considered bellwethers for future inflation trends.

The eurozone has faced mounting economic pressure since Russia's invasion of Ukraine which is approaching one year. Many of the member states have participated in economic sanctions against Russia, with the Kremlin retaliating by cutting off energy supplies like natural gas.

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European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said in December that she needs to see more evidence of improving inflation numbers for the institution to change its strategy of increasing interest rates.

"We're not pivoting, we're not wavering, we are showing determination," she said. "[The ECB] has more ground to cover."

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