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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish consumer prices rose this month at their slowest rate since December, preliminary data published on Tuesday showed, placing inflation in line with the European Central Bank's target for the first time in five months.
Inflation, harmonised to compare with other European Union member states, was 2.0 percent year-on-year in May, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said, equal to a Reuters forecast and down from a previous reading of 2.6 percent.
The ECB's inflation target is near to, or slightly below, 2 percent.
Spanish data comes ahead of the closely monitored German figure, due at 1200 GMT, which is expected to fall below the central bank's target at 1.6 percent. Inflation for the euro zone as a whole is due on Wednesday and is also expected to have eased to 1.5 percent in May from 1.9 percent a month earlier.
Higher euro zone consumer price rises have prompted pressure on the ECB to reduce its multi-billion-euro asset purchase plan, though policymakers said last week that inflation remains weak and the programme must continue as planned.
INE data also showed Spain's national consumer price index rose by 1.9 percent in May on an annual basis, down from 2.6 percent in April.
The fall from the previous month, to the lowest level since December, was due to a drop in fuel prices compared to rises last year and cheaper package holidays, INE said.
Reporting by Paul Day Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.