The annual inflation rate declined in March to 1.5 percent in the Euro area and 1.6 percent in the European Union (EU), from 2 percent in February, while Romania, Ireland and the Netherlands recorded the lowest annual inflation rates in the EU, the data published on Wednesday by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) reveals.
According to these estimations, the inflation in the Euro area came back under the main target of the European Central Bank, that wants to maintain the growth of prices near 2 percent, a level considered to be beneficial for the economic activity. Moreover, the figure provided by Eurostat is beneath the analysts’ estimations, who counted on an annual growth of prices of 1.8 percent in the Euro area.
The highest annual inflation rates of the EU were recorded last month in Latvia (3.3 percent), Lithuania (3.2 percent) and Estonia (3 percent), and the lowest in Romania (0.4 percent), Ireland and the Netherlands (both 0.6 percent). Compared with February 2017, the annual inflation fell in 17 member states (including Romania), rose in five and remained stable in six.
The largest upward impacts to the Euro area annual inflation came from fuels for transport (+0.48 percentage points), heating oil (+0.11 pp) and vegetables (+0.08 pp). The biggest downward impacts came from telecommunication and package holidays (-0.09 pp each), and garments (-0.05 pp).