ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s annual EU-harmonised inflation rate slowed in February, statistics service data showed on Friday, with the reading coming in slightly below market expectations.
The reading in February was 1.4 percent from 1.5 percent in January. Consumer prices were led lower by apparel, footwear, durable household goods and healthcare costs.
Economists polled by Reuters were forecasting a 1.5 percent print.
The data also showed the headline consumer price index rose to 1.3 percent year-on-year, from 1.2 percent in the previous month, when it emerged from a protracted deflation trend.
For years an inflation outlier in the euro zone, Greece had been in a protracted deflation mode since March 2013 based on its headline index, as wage and pension cuts and a multi-year recession took a heavy toll on Greek household incomes.
Deflation in Greece, which signed up to its first international bailout in 2010, hit its highest level in November 2013, when consumer prices registered a 2.9 percent year-on-year decline.
Euro zone inflation surged to a four-year high last month, zooming past the European Central Bank’s target and piling pressure on rate setters to open talks about when and how extraordinary stimulus measures will be scaled back.
Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro accelerated to 2.0 percent from 1.8 percent in January, the highest since the start of 2013 and just above the ECB’s target of a rate just below 2 percent.
Reporting by George Georgiopoulos