Euro-Area Producer-Price Inflation Slows More Than Forecast

Euro-area producer-price inflation slowed more than economists forecast in February led by easing price growth for energy.

Factory-gate prices in the 17-nation economy rose 1.3 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 1.7 percent increase in the prior month, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast a February rate of 1.4 percent, according to the median of 17 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. From the prior month, prices increased 0.2 percent.

The European Central Bank meets today in Frankfurt to decide on interest rates after a month in which euro-area leaders fumbled a bailout of Cyprus and the euro fell to its lowest level of the year against the dollar. ECB President Mario Draghi said on March 7 that underlying consumer price pressures remain contained.

The ECB probably will leave its benchmark rate at a record low of 0.75 percent, according to 54 of 56 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The decision is due at 1:45 p.m. in Frankfurt.

Energy costs at the producer level rose an annual 1.6 percent in February after a 2.2 percent increase in the previous month, today’s report showed. Prices of intermediate goods rose 0.7 percent after a 1.3 percent gain in January.

In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, producer-price inflation decelerated to 1.2 percent in February from 1.7 percent in January.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Henry in Brussels at phenry8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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