FRANKFURT, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Euro zone inflation eased far more than expected in November, raising hopes that sky-high price growth is now past its peak and bolstering the case for a slowdown in European Central Bank rate hikes next month.
The overall picture is more nuanced, however, as energy prices accounted for the bulk of the slowdown while food price inflation, a key worry, continued to accelerate, data from Eurostat showed on Wednesday.
Underlying price growth, excluding volatile food and energy prices, remained high, which is likely to trigger warnings from conservative central bankers, while food price growth, a key concern for governments, shows little sign of peaking.
Inflation for processed food, alcohol and tobacco, a key category, meanwhile accelerated to 13.6% from 12.4%.
Initially fuelled by supply bottlenecks in the post-pandemic reopening, inflation is now driven by soaring food prices after a poor harvest and sky-high energy costs in the fallout of Russia's war in Ukraine.