Eurozone consumer prices grew more slowly in February than in January, as expected, data from the European Union’s statistics office showed on Tuesday, as the spread of the coronavirus around the world depressed oil prices.
Eurostat estimated that consumer prices rose 1.2 percent year-on-year in February after a 1.4 percent rise in January, in line with a Reuters poll of analysts.
The slower growth was mainly due to a 0.3 percent year-on-year drop in energy prices. Without it, and excluding the volatile unprocessed food prices, inflation accelerated to 1.4 percent year-on-year from 1.3 percent in January.
An even narrower measure that also excludes alcohol and tobacco prices and that is watched closely by many bank economists also accelerated to 1.2 percent from 1.1 percent in January.
Separately, Eurostat said that prices at factory gates, which point to trends in consumer prices later, rose 0.4 percent month-on-month in January for a decline of 0.5 percent year-on-year, as expected by economists polled by Reuters.
Eurostat also said that the eurozone unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in January 2020 as expected, the same rate as in December 2019 and down from 7.8 percent in January 2019 – the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since May 2008.