FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Union’s statistics agency says sharply higher oil and gas prices helped push annual inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro to its highest in more than a decade. Eurostat reported Friday that inflation came in at 3.4% for September, up from 3.0% in August and more than the 3.3% expected by market analysts. Boosted by a jolting 17.4% increase in energy prices, the overall inflation level is the euro area’s highest since 2008. Core inflation, which excludes volatile fuel and food, was more modest at 1.9%. Higher prices for natural gas and electricity have spread concern among European governments, which are taking steps to limit rises in residential utility bills.
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