The prices of manufacturers in the euro zone are rising at an unprecedented rate due to the explosion in costs in the energy sector.

Producer prices in industry rose by a record 36.8 percent in March compared to the same month last year, according to the Eurostat statistics office on Tuesday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected a slightly weaker increase of 36.3 percent.

In February, the increase was still 31.5 percent - that was also a record increase.

Energy alone saw a strong increase of 104.1 percent.

Excluding this area, producer prices rose by only 13.6 percent overall.

The prices for the intermediate goods important in production increased by almost 23 percent.

Expensive energy and raw materials are increasingly burdening the economy.

The German logistics industry is already warning of a wave of insolvencies.

Producer prices are regarded as a leading indicator for the development of inflation.

In the statistics, the prices are listed from the factory gate - i.e. before the products are further processed or sold.

You can thus give an early indication of the development of consumer prices.

Inflation is currently on the rise in the euro area and has shot well above the European Central Bank's (ECB) target of two percent.

Driven by the high cost of oil and gas, consumer prices rose by 7.5 percent in April - the highest level since monetary union was established.

According to the ECB, the rise in prices should be fueled further as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In view of the sharp rise in prices, the monetary authorities could end their zero interest rate policy this summer.

Rising interest rates can make the euro more attractive, making it cheaper to import oil and other commodities, which in turn would limit inflation.