Eurozone inflation data was mixed on Wednesday morning, with the headline consumer prices falling less than expected but the core number strengthening in line with forecasts.
While core CPI was in line with expectations, the details were not, he said, with services inflation unchanged at a relatively modest 1.2%, despite the jump in French services inflation, while non-energy goods inflation rose.
GDP in the 19 countries in the single currency rose 0.6 per cent in the final three months of 2017, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the European Union's statistics provider. For a variety of reasons, including the eurozone's strong growth, the euro has been hugely in demand. Growth was up by a substantial margin from the previous year, when the economy grew 1.8 percent, which in turn was up from the 1.5 percent growth rate of 2015.
Calculated without these two most volatile components, or what the European Central Bank calls core inflation rose to 1.2 percent from 1.1 percent in December, against expectations of a slight dip to 1.0 percent. The ECB is now buying around €30bn (£26bn) in bonds every month as part of its quantitative easing programme, which is now scheduled to continue until September.
The highest unemployment rate was recorded in Greece (20.7 per cent in October 2017, the latest available data) and Spain (16.4 per cent).
"Some recovery in wage growth seems imminent; German unions are pushing for higher wage increases in collective bargaining negotiations for example, but it will likely take at least until 2019 until wage growth is back at pre-crisis levels", said Bert Colijn, senior eurozone economist at ING. One standout has been Portugal.