Euro zone inflation accelerated in September as energy costs soared but core prices rose at their slowest pace for a year, likely leaving the European Central Bank on track to cut interest rates in coming months.
Consumer prices in the 17 countries sharing the euro rose 2.7 percent year-on-year, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said on Friday in a first estimate.
That marked a rise from 2.6 percent in August and beat market expectations of 2.5 percent.
Eurostat said energy prices jumped 9.2 percent after a 8.9 percent rise the previous month. But core inflation, excluding both energy and unprocessed foods, fell to 1.7 percent, its lowest level in a year.
Together with recent data indicating that the euro zone economy entered a recession in the third quarter, Friday's inflation reading did nothing to dampen economists' expectations that the ECB will deliver a growth-boosting rate cut soon.
"It seems highly likely that the ECB will take interest rates down from 0.75 percent to 0.50 percent in the fourth quarter," said Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight.
"While the ECB could act as soon as its October meeting next Thursday, we lean towards the view that they will probably hold off to November."
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Rex Merrifield, John Stonestreet)