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Business

Eurozone inflation stable despite rising food prices

Fresh data from the EU's statistics office have shown that the debt-stricken eurozone has had no problems with keeping inflation in the bloc at a reasonably low level. Individual member states stand out, however.

The rising cost of living in the 17-member euro area in July remained stable at an annual rate of 1.6 percent, the European statistics office, Eurostat, reported Friday.

The rate left consumer prices comfortably within the European Central bank's target of keeping annual inflation in the eurozone below but near 2 percent, which the lender views as a prerequisite for price stability.

The July data showed the greatest annual price increases in the bloc were on fruit, vegetables and tobacco.

Economic pickup

Eurozone inflation hit a 38-month low in April of this year, but has picked up since as the economy is recovering slowly from recession in most parts of the euro area, with second-quarter growth in the bloc standing at 0.3 percent.

For July, the Netherlands logged the highest individual inflation rate of 3.1 percent, while Greece recorded no inflation at all, with consumer prices in the southern European nation even dropping slightly.

Eurostat also said Friday the bloc's trade surplus with the rest of the world amounted to 17.3 billion euros ($23 billion) in June, up from 14.5 billion euros a month earlier. Exports rose by 3 percent, while imports went up by a lower 2.5 percent.

hg/mz (AFP, dpa)