MADRID, June 28 (Reuters) - Spanish consumer prices rose in June at their fastest rate since April 2017, as fuel costs pushed inflation above 2 percent for the second month running, data showed on Thursday.
Spain is the first major euro zone economy to report June inflation, to be followed by data for Germany later on Thursday and for the 19-country bloc as a whole on Friday.
Spanish EU-harmonised prices rose 2.3 percent, in line with a Reuters poll and above May’s reading of 2.1 percent. National prices also rose 2.3 percent, compared to the 2.2 percent expected by analysts.
“This behaviour is due to the rise in fuel (diesel and gasoline) prices compared to the drop seen in 2017,” national statistics office INE said.
The Bank of Spain said on Wednesday a spike in inflation at the end of the second quarter was likely to affect consumer purchasing power and could be a drag on the overall economy.
European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said on Tuesday he expected inflation excluding oil and fuel to keep rising across the euro zone as the bloc’s economy remained on track for solid and broad-based growth.
The ECB this month decided to end bond purchases by the close of this year, putting an end to years of expansive monetary policy aimed at boosting economic growth and combating low inflation.
However, it said it would keep interest rates unchanged at least until after the summer of 2019.
Separately, Spanish retail sales fell 0.3 percent in May, INE data showed, the first drop recorded since October. (Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Sonya Dowsett and John Stonestreet)