Brussels – Unemployment in the 17 countries of the euro area peaked unexpectedly in January, 10.7% of the workforce, its highest level since the introduction of the single currency in 1999, while the inflation in turn recorded a further increase to 2.7% in February, according to figures from the EU statistical agency, Eurostat.
Spain recorded the worst unemployment in the area, to 23.3%, while the latest available figure for Greece, that of December was 19.9%.
About inflation in the euro area, its increase was also unexpected, the markets did not expect a change greater than 2.6% in January.
The objective of the European Central Bank is to keep inflation below the 2% mark and it is expected that the ECB, which holds its monthly meeting next week, to maintain its interest rate unchanged at 1%, especially after the massive injection of funds to the banking system performed. The Frankfurt-based central bank yesterday allocated 529.5 billion euros in low interest loans towards the banks, so that they help to alleviate the debt States.