Eurozone Prices Unexpectedly Fall Most In A Year

Eurozone consumer prices unexpectedly decline in February at the fastest pace in a year, preliminary data from the statistical office Eurostat showed Monday, adding to the deflation worries of the European Central Bank that is set to announce its latest policy decision next week.

The flash harmonized index of consumer prices fell 0.2 percent year-on-year following a 0.3 percent rise in January. Economists had expected a 0.1 percent gain.

The latest decline was the biggest since February last year, when prices fell 0.3 percent.

The core HICP that excludes fresh food and energy prices rose 0.8 percent annually after a 1 percent climb in the previous month. Economists had forecast a 0.9 percent increase.

The increase in services costs accelerated to 1 percent from 1.2 percent. Food, alcohol & tobacco inflation slowed to 0.7 percent from 1 percent.

Energy prices tumbled 8 percent, which was faster than the 5.4 percent decline in the previous month. Non-energy prices rose 0.3 percent after a 0.7 percent climb.

Eurostat is set to release the detail data for February inflation on March 17.

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