March 17, 2016 / 10:08 AM / 3 years ago

Euro zone consumer prices fall in February confirmed - statistics office

A man carries bags with purchases as shoppers take care of their last-minute Christmas holiday gift needs in Paris, December 23, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone consumer prices fell 0.2 percent year-on-year in February, the European Union’s statistics office said on Thursday confirming its earlier estimate and economists’ forecasts.

On a monthly basis inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro went up by 0.2 percent, Eurostat said, slightly above forecasts. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.1 percent increase.

Core inflation, which in the European Central Bank’s definition excludes the more volatile prices of energy and unprocessed food, was 0.8 percent year-on-year, confirming the previous Eurostat estimate, but more than expected by economists who forecast a 0.7 percent increase.

It grew 0.3 percent month-on-month.

Excluding energy, tobacco, food and alcohol, an indicator to which economists pay close attention, euro zone inflation was 0.8 percent yearly and 0.4 percent monthly.

Energy prices were confirmed as the main drag on euro zone inflation. They dropped 8.1 percent in February year-on-year, slightly more than the -8.0 percent previously estimated by Eurostat. Energy prices fell 1.3 percent on a monthly basis.

Prices in the services sector went up 0.9 percent on an annual basis, the highest increase in the price components analysed by Eurostat.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio

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