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Euro-Area Inflation Rate Remained at 2.2% in December on Energy

The euro-area inflation rate was unchanged in December as slower energy-cost growth offset higher prices for food.

Consumer prices increased 2.2 percent, in line with an initial estimate on Jan. 4, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. In the month, prices rose 0.4 percent.

The European Central Bank last week left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent as President Mario Draghi saw “positive contagion” in the euro-area economy. The ECB forecasts consumer prices to grow 1.6 percent this year as the economy contracts 0.3 percent.

Nestle SA last week said it is turning to the Chinese market after its water business suffered as western consumers turn to the tap. Nestle owns more than 60 water brands including Vittel and Pure Life, the world’s best-selling label.

The annual core inflation rate, excluding volatile costs such as energy, alcohol and tobacco, rose to 1.5 percent in December from 1.4 percent a month earlier, today’s report showed. Energy costs increased 5.2 percent after a 5.7 percent gain, while food costs rose 3 percent, up from a 2.9 percent increase in November.

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