BRUSSELS, May 31 (Reuters) - Euro zone consumer price rises slowed year-on-year in May from April, an estimate by the European Union’s statistics office showed on Wednesday, mainly because of lower increases of energy and food costs.
Eurostat said inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro slowed to 1.4 percent year-on-year from 1.9 percent in April, slightly below market expectations of a 1.5 percent reading.
The inflation measure which excludes the volatile energy and unprocessed food prices also fell to 1.0 percent from 1.2 percent, in line with economists expectations.
Energy prices increased by 4.6 percent year-on-year in May, Eurostat estimated, from a 7.6 percent rise in April. Unprocessed food costs were 1.6 percent higher than a year earlier, against 2.2 percent in April.
The European Central Bank wants to keep inflation below, but close to 2 percent over the medium term and has been buying 60 billion euros worth of bonds per month to inject more cash into the economy and drive price growth closer to its target.
Eurostat also reported that the unemployment rate in the euro zone fell to an eight-year low of 9.3 percent. (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)