Italy's inflation rate jumped in December to the highest level in more than four years as record oil prices pushed up the cost of gasoline and transportation. Consumer prices gained 2.8 percent from a year earlier, as calculated by European Union methods, the Rome-based national statistics office said. That's the most since November 2003. Prices rose 0.3 percent from November.
A surge in oil prices to a record $100.09 a barrel yesterday is pushing up inflation just as growth in Europe's fourth-biggest economy is slowing down. Italian truck drivers went on a three-day strike last month to protest the surge in diesel costs. Transportation costs jumped 1 percent from a month ago, today's report showed.