German consumer price inflation soared more than expected in May to hit the highest level in over a year, data showed today.

The figures surpassed the European Central Bank's rate target of just under 2% for the euro zone as a whole. 

German consumer prices, harmonised to make them comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries, rose by 2.2% year-on-year after an increase of 1.4% in the previous month, the Federal Statistics Office said. 

This was the fastest pace since February 2017 and beat a Reuters consensus forecast for a rise of 1.8%. 

On the month, EU-harmonised prices were up 0.6%, the preliminary numbers showed. That compared with the Reuters consensus forecast for an increase of 0.3%. 

The stronger-than-expected inflation figures are likely to play into the hands of policy hawks, including Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann.

They want the ECB to end its asset purchases this year and see room for a rate hike towards the middle of 2019.            

German jobless rate hits record low in May

Meanwhile, Germany's jobless numbers dropped more than expected in May, pushing down the unemployment rate to a record low, data showed today.

The figures reflect the robustness of a labour market that has become a key driver of a consumer-led upswing. 

Germany's Federal Labour Office said the seasonally adjusted jobless total fell by 11,000 to 2.358 million. That compared with an expected drop of 10,000 forecast in a Reuters poll. 

The unemployment rate fell to 5.2% in May, the Officesaid. That was the lowest since German reunification in 1990. 

"Unemployment and underemployment have decreased again, employment within the scope of the social security system keeps rising and labour demand is still high," Labour Office head Detlef Scheele said in a statement. 

"The upward trend on the labour market is continuing, albeit at a slower pace than in the winter months," he added.