BERLIN, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Inflation in Germany’s most populous regions accelerated in October to reach the highest level in many years, data showed on Tuesday, adding weight to the European Central Bank’s case for gradually winding down its unprecedented monetary stimulus.
With price pressures building in the euro zone, the ECB last week confirmed its plan to end its 2.6 trillion euro bond-buying programme at the end of this year and raise interest rates for the first time since 2011 sometime after next summer.
The ECB’s goal is to keep inflation in the euro zone close to, but just below, two percent a year.
Annual inflation in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, picked up to 2.4 percent in October from 2.3 percent in the previous month, preliminary regional statistics office data showed.
This was the highest reading since October, 2011.
In Bavaria, the second-most populous state, and in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the third, annual inflation accelerated to 2.8 percent after 2.5 percent in the previous month.
The state inflation readings, which are not harmonised to compare with other euro zone countries, feed into nationwide data due at 1300 GMT.
A poll conducted before the release of the regional data suggested that Germany’s harmonised consumer price inflation (HICP) rate would pick up to 2.4 percent in October from 2.2 percent in the previous month.
This would be the highest reading since February, 2012.
The euro zone will publish preliminary inflation data for October on Wednesday, with the headline figure expected to pick up to 2.2 percent after 2.1 percent in September, according to a Reuters poll. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Editing by Ed Osmond)