German economists have called on the European Central Bank to raise interest rates after euro zone consumer prices grew faster than expected in December. 

The European Central Bank aims for an inflation level of just under 2% but has undershot the target for years. 

It has been buying tens of billions of euros of government bonds each month to inject more cash into the banking system and stimulate price rises in the economy. 

But data yesterday showing that prices in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 1.1% on the year last month have stirred a historic fear of inflation among Germans that goes back to the 1920s. 

"It is time for a normalisation," Stefan Bielmeier, chief economist at DZ Bank told Bild daily. "Now a change in interest rates is doable." 

"The sooner the inflation rate in Europe reaches the goal of 2%, the quicker the ECB can raise interest rates. Savers would also benefit from this," DIW institute's chief Marcel Fratzscher said. 

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Isabel Schnabel, one of the panel of economists that advises Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, told Bild an end to ultra-expansive monetary policy should come soon. 

The comments add to a chorus from Europe's biggest economy after the head of the Ifo institute Clemens Fuest said a jump in German inflation was a signal for the ECB to end its expansive monetary policy and its bond buying programme. 

German consumer prices, harmonised to compare with other European countries (HICP) rose by 1.7% on the year in December after increasing 0.7% in November, the Federal Statistics Office said earlier this week.