© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Full shelves of fruit in a supermarket during the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Berlin, Germany, March 17, 2020. Photo: Fabrizio Bench/Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) – German inflation hit its highest level in nearly half a century in May, driven by soaring energy and food prices since the start of the war in Ukraine.

On Monday, the Federal Statistics Office said consumer prices, coordinated to make them comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries (HICP), rose 8.7% annually.

Inflation in Germany was similarly highest in the winter of 1973/74, when mineral oil prices rose as a result of the first oil crisis, according to the bureau.

The figure, which exceeded the 8.0 percent expected by analysts in a Reuters poll, represented the second consecutive month of record highs after rising 7.8 percent in April, the largest in four decades. [L5N2WQ6JB]

According to the agency, energy prices increased by 38.3% in May compared to the same month last year, and food prices also increased at an above-average rate of 11.1%.

Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, said there was still some inflationary pressure in the pipeline for commodities affected by supply and food shortages before the situation calmed down from the fall.