Spanish prices rose at their fastest level since 2012 in February, marking a fresh four-year inflation high for the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy.

EU-harmonised consumer prices in Spain rose 3 per cent on an annual basis in February, slightly softer than expectations of a 3.1 per cent gain but still marking the highest level since December 2012.

Prices fell 0.3 per cent in February on a monthly basis, in line with expectations, according to initial estimates from Spain’s statistics office.

Spanish inflation had already hit its highest level in more than four years the previous month, with a 2.9 per cent gain in annual prices in January compared to December’s 1.9 per cent rise.

Spain’s figures are in line with the upward trend in inflation across the eurozone as a whole, with average eurozone inflation at its highest level since 2012, hitting 1.8 per cent in January – and marking its first month of rising inflation across all its member states in nearly four years.

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said in December that the threat of the eurozone tipping back into deflation had passed. But the central bank still predicts that inflation will remain well below its 2 per cent target this year at 1.4 per cent.

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