Inflation in Europe slows a touch

April 16, 2013 at 8:17 AM

BRUSSELS, April 16 (UPI) -- The inflation rate dropped in the eurozone and the larger European Union for the second consecutive month in March, official data agency Eurostat said Tuesday.

Eurostat said inflation slowed from 1.8 percent in February to 1.7 percent in March in the 17-member currency zone known as the eurozone and from 2 percent to 2.1 percent in the 27-member EU.

A year ago, inflation stood at 2.7 percent in the Eurozone and 2.9 percent in the EU, Eurostat said.

The lowest annual rate among EU member states in March was in Greece, with an inflation rate of minus 0.2 percent. Latvia's annual rate was 0.3 percent. In Sweden, it was 0.5 percent.

The highest rates were in Romania at 4.4 percent, Estonia at 3.8 percent and the Netherlands at 3.2 percent.

In the eurozone, the 17 countries that use the euro as currency, the annual inflation rate for all items minus seasonal food and energy was 1.8 percent, up from 1.6 percent in February.

By itself, the inflation rate for energy was 1.7 percent in March, down from 3.9 percent in February. For food, alcohol and tobacco, the inflation rate remains steady at 2.7 percent.

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