September 17, 2018 / 9:07 AM / 8 months ago

Euro zone inflation confirmed at 2.0 percent in August

People stand inside a Lush cosmetics store in Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone annual inflation slowed slightly to 2.0 percent in August, the EU’s statistics agency said on Monday, confirming its earlier estimate.

Eurostat also confirmed that inflation excluding volatile energy and unprocessed food prices, which the European Central Bank looks closely at in policy decisions, was 1.2 percent on the year.

Month-on-month, headline inflation was 0.2 percent, Eurostat said, while the figure excluding energy and food was 0.1 percent.

The data confirmed market expectations of a slight slowdown of headline inflation from 2.1 percent in July and were in line with Eurostat’s previous estimates released on Aug. 31.

Inflation excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, which many economists look at, was 1.0 percent on the year and 0.2 percent on the month.

Energy prices were up 9.2 percent year-on-year compared with a 9.5 percent rise in July.

Last week, the European Central Bank kept policy unchanged as expected, staying on track to end bond purchases this year and raise interest rates next autumn, as inflation is rebounding from lower rates at the beginning of the year.

The ECB wants to keep headline inflation below, but close to, 2 percent over the medium term.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio

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