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Euro-Area Inflation Holds at 1.6%, Providing ECB Some Leeway

Euro-area inflation held steady in July after accelerating for two months, adding leeway for the European Central Bank to loosen monetary policy as the 17-nation currency bloc struggles to pull out of a record-long recession.

The annual inflation rate was 1.6 percent, the same as in June, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That’s in line with the median of 42 economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. It’s the sixth straight month that the rate has been less than the ECB’s 2 percent ceiling.