According to a flash estimate released by Eurostat on 30 March, consumer prices in March rose 2.6% over the same month last year, based on the harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP). The reading was down from February's 2.7% and marked the 16th consecutive month in which inflation has remained above the European Central Bank's (ECB) target of close to, but below 2.0%. Month-on-month price variations, together with a more detailed set of data, will be provided on 30 April. According to detailed figures for February, consumer prices rose 0.5% over the previous month, which contrasted the 0.8% drop recorded in January. Despite the monthly rise, annual headline inflation was unchanged at January's 2.7%. The core inflation index, which does not include prices for energy, rose 0.3% over the previous month (January: -1.4% mom). Annual core inflation was 1.9% in February, unchanged from January. At a country level, 10 out of 16 Eurozone economies (Ireland did not report inflation data for February) recorded annual inflation rates above the regional average. Estonia recorded the highest annual inflation rate (4.4%), followed by Slovakia (4.0%). At the other end of the spectrum, inflation was lowest in Greece (1.7%) and Spain (1.9%). Among the other major Eurozone economies, Germany and France (both at 2.5%) recorded an inflation rate below the regional average in February, while inflation was above the regional average in Italy (3.4%).
Inflation inches down in March
March 30, 2012
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