BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s annual inflation rate accelerated to 7.9% in May, its highest level in nearly half a century, according to an official estimate Monday.

The Federal Statistical Office said year-on-year inflation jumped from 7.4% in April, with energy prices 38.3% higher than in May last year and food prices up 11.1%. Germany has Europe’s biggest economy.

It is the highest inflation rate since the winter of 1973-1974, when an oil crisis also fueled higher prices. Inflation in Germany stood at an already high 5.1% in February and leapt above the 7% mark in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In month-on-month terms, the statistics office said prices were up 0.9% in May.

In a separate report on Monday, the office said that people’s earnings in Germany were down 1.8% in real terms in this year’s first quarter compared with a year earlier as a result of inflation, which more than offset a nominal increase of 4%.

In comments shortly before the latest inflation figure was released, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said that “the top priority must be fighting inflation.”

“Inflation is an enormous economic risk and we must fight this inflation so that no economic crisis grows out of it, so that no spiral develops through which inflation feeds itself,” Lindner said.