June 4, 2018 / 9:04 AM / in 3 months

Euro zone producer prices flat in April vs March, up two percent year-on-year

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Prices at factory gates were unchanged in April compared to March in the 19 countries sharing the euro currency, implying only moderate inflationary pressure. European Union statistics office Eurostat said on Monday.

Compared to the same period last year, industrial producer prices were 2.0 percent higher in April, mainly caused by a sharp increase in energy prices.

Energy prices were down 0.4 percent month-on-month and up 3.8 percent year-on-year.

Durable consumer goods, such as fridges and televisions, were 0.9 percent more expensive year-on-year, while non-durable consumer goods prices were up a modest 0.5 percent. Compared with the previous month, these goods groups were both 0.1 percent more expensive.

The data come at a crucial time for the European Central Bank, which is deciding whether or not to end its stimulus programme in which it is purchasing some 2.55 trillion euros (2.23 trillion pounds) of government bonds.

Eurostat estimated last week that consumer inflation had unexpectedly risen to 1.9 percent in May, buoyed by higher energy costs.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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