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Eurozone inflation jumps to 3% in September

The weaker euro is having an effect.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Inflation jumped to a startling 3.0 percent in September in the 17 countries that use the euro, a surprise increase that makes it less likely the European Central Bank will cut interest rates next week to head off a possible recession.

The rate reported Friday from the European Union’s statistics agency was the highest since October 2008 and represented a big increase from August’s 2.5 percent. The scale of the rise was unexpected.

The ECB, the chief monetary authority for the euro countries, has come under pressure to cut interest rates soon to ward off mounting signs of recession in the eurozone economy. A waning global recovery and market turmoil from Europe’s debt crisis are starting to weigh on growth.

Leading economic indicators have been falling to the point where some predict a downturn is imminent, after a weak 0.2 percent growth figure for the second quarter.

Separate figures Friday from the statistics office showed unemployment in the eurozone stuck at 10 percent in August.

A few economists have predicted a cut next week when the ECB’s rate-setting council meets in Berlin. But the council’s 23 members may want to see evidence that inflation is not a threat before they cut. September’s rate, which is well above the ECB’s mandate to keep inflation just below 2 percent, could mean a cut that soon is less likely.

“The latest eurozone inflation and unemployment numbers would appear to reduce the chance of an imminent ECB rate cut,” said Ben May, European economist at Capital Economics.

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