In January, price increases in the eurozone remained well below the rate desired by the European Central Bank. The timid inflation rate for the month points to a lackluster recovery in the recession-hit currency area.
Annual inflation in the 18-nation eurozone remained tame in January, recording 0.8 percent higher than in the previous month of December, according to the latest available figures published by the European Statistics Office, Eurostat, Monday.
In the wider 28-nation European Union, inflation fell to 0.9 percent against 1 percent at the end of last year, Eurostat said.
Compared with January 2013, however, the rates for both areas were significantly lower, coming down from 2 percent and 2.1 percent annual inflation respectively a year ago.
In the eurozone, however, crisis-hit member states Cyprus and Greece already logged falling prices for January, down 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. In the wider EU, Bulgaria posted deflation of minus 1.3 percent.
The highest rates were in Britain and in Finland, which each saw 1.9 percent higher prices.
The latest Eurostat inflation data raises concern about the recent economic recovery failing to gain traction on the continent. In addition, it puts more pressure on the ECB to help spur growth with more monetary easing, after it had already cut its key interest rate to a historic low of 0.25 percent at the end of last year.
uhe/dr (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)