Inflation in the euro zone leaped to the ECB's target in May, data showed today, fuelled by a huge increase in oil prices as the US decided to pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran. 

The EU's statistics authority, Eurostat, said inflation in the euro zone jumped to 1.9% in May, a massive jump from the 1.2% recorded in April.

That puts inflation right at the European Central Bank's target of close to, but just below 2%. 

Analysts believe increased inflation will heap pressure on the ECB to scale back its massive stimulus programme that has helped keep government borrowing prices at super low levels. 

This would be especially sensitive in heavily-indebted Italy, which is hit by a political crisis and benefits greatly from the ECB bond-buying programme. 

The strong jump in inflation was mainly due to energy prices, which shot up by a dizzying 6.1% in May compared to 2.6% the month before. 

Oil has been trading at three and a half year highs recently amid concerns about supply disruptions caused by the US decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal, as well as unrest in Venezuela. 

Eurostat also said the jobless rate in the single currency area fell to 8.5% in April, a nine-year low and down from 8.6% a month before.