LONDON (AP) – Inflation in the 20 countries that use the euro currency slowed to 6.9 per cent in March, the lowest level in a year, with food costs still on the rise while energy prices fell, making a sharp turnaround after months of punishing increases.
Consumer prices in the eurozone dropped from the 8.5 per cent recorded in February, according to data released yesterday by the European Union’s (EU) statistics agency Eurostat. The inflation dropped to its lowest level in a year since since peaking at 10.6 per cent in October.
But prices for food rose by a painful 15.4 per cent, faster than the previous month’s 15 per cent, in a sign that European consumers are still getting squeezed.
Energy prices fell 0.9 per cent – an abrupt change of direction after rising at double-digit rates over the past year. The situation in Ukraine pushed up prices for natural gas used to heat homes and generate electricity, fuelling overall inflation.