By DAVID McHUGH
AP Business Writer
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Inflation in Europe has eased for the first time in more than a year as energy prices drifted down from painful highs. But the double-digit rate still hovers near a record that has robbed consumers of their spending power and led economists to predict a recession. The European Union’s statistics agency said Wednesday that consumer price index in the 19 countries that use the euro currency hit 10% in November from a year earlier. That was a drop from 10.6% in October, the first decrease since June 2021. The figure reflected prices for food, alcohol and tobacco rising faster even as energy prices slipped to a 34.9% rate of increase from an astronomical 41.5% in October.