September 18, 2017 / 9:06 AM / a year ago

Euro zone inflation confirmed at 1.5 percent in August

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone headline inflation hit its highest level in four months in August, official data showed on Monday, confirming the European Union statistics office’s earlier flash estimate.

A vendor sells vegetables at a market in central Belgrade June 11, 2011. REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic

Eurostat said consumer prices in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose in August by 1.5 percent year-on-year and by 0.3 percent on the month, in line with the average forecast of economists polled by Reuters.

Inflation remained below the European Central Bank’s target of near 2 percent, but picked up from 1.3 percent in July.

Excluding the volatile components of unprocessed food and energy, an indicator closely watched by the ECB for its monetary decisions, the rate was 1.3 percent on the year. This matched a previous estimate released by Eurostat at the end of August, but was slightly above market expectations of a 1.2 percent reading.

Energy prices went up by 4.0 percent on the year and 0.7 percent month-on-month, the highest increases among the components of the indicator.

Prices in the services sector, the largest in the euro zone economy, were 1.6 percent higher in August on the year, the same rate as in June and July. Inflation was at 1.4 percent for food, alcohol and tobacco.

Prices rises were limited for non-energy industrial goods, excluding energy, up 0.5 percent year-on-year.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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