German Inflation Rate Turns Positive as Recovery Picks Up

Germany’s inflation rate turned positive for the first time in three months as the country’s economy strengthened and the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program got under way.

Prices in Europe’s largest economy rose 0.1 percent in March from a year earlier, according to European Union-harmonized data published by the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden on Monday. That matches the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

ECB President Mario Draghi has pledged to spend 1.1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) on government bonds and other assets to stave off the threat of deflation and foster growth in the 19-nation euro area. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, who opposed the program, has argued that consumer prices would pick up anyway as plunging energy costs add to previous ECB measures in stimulating the economy.

“The ECB’s extended bond-purchase program was off to a good start in March,” Deutsche Bank AG economists including Stefan Schneider wrote in a note prior to today’s release. “Despite preliminary positive signs, the ECB will probably only be able to gauge the success in the beginning of 2016.”

Germany’s inflation rate dropped to a record low of minus 0.5 percent in January and was minus 0.1 percent in February. Prices in Spain fell 0.7 percent in March from a year earlier, less than economists forecast, the national statistics office said on Monday.

The euro-area inflation rate was probably minus 0.1 percent this month, according to a separate Bloomberg survey before the EU’s statistics office publishes the data on Tuesday.

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