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Euro-Area Inflation Rate Declined in January on Energy, Services

The euro-area inflation rate fell in January, led by slower price growth for energy and services.

Annual consumer-price growth slowed to 2 percent from 2.2 percent in December, in line with an initial estimate on Feb. 1, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. In the month, prices fell 1 percent.

The European Central Bank will probably maintain its benchmark interest rate at 0.75 percent next week, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The ECB will update its December economic forecasts after the euro area’s recession deepened in the fourth quarter. The European Commission sees inflation at 1.8 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2014.

The annual core inflation rate, excluding volatile costs such as energy, alcohol and tobacco, fell to 1.3 percent in January from 1.5 percent a month earlier, today’s report showed. The cost of energy rose 3.9 percent after a 5.2 percent annual gain in December, while services-price growth slowed to 1.6 percent from 1.8 percent. Food, alcohol and tobacco costs rose 3.2 percent.

European Union car sales last month fell to the lowest level for a month of January since the data series began in 1990. Manufacturers in the region have announced 30,000 job cuts and five plant shutdowns since July, with Renault and Peugeot outlining domestic workforce reductions of 17 percent.

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