Inflation in the euro zone eased slightly in the month of February, following comments from the European Central Bank chief that bringing the rate down will take some time.
Headline inflation across the 20-member bloc came in at 8.5% in February, according to preliminary data released Thursday. By comparison, prices seemed to have cooled off for a third consecutive month in January, with headline inflation at a revised 8.6%.
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The rate would sit 0.8% higher than in January, according to the preliminary data.
February’s EU-harmonized rate for consumer prices increased to 9.3% year-on-year, above the 9% forecast by economists polled by Reuters. Harmonized inflation was at 9.2% in January.
The rate remains well above the European Central Bank’s 2% target and follows the hotter-than-expected February inflation figures from France and Spain.
“It seems to be the case that inflation is very stubborn, so it looks like that inflation will remain on a very high level,” Joachim Nagel, President of Deutsche Bundesbank told CNBC’s Annette Weisbach Wednesday.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index eased slightly on the announcement, but was flat by 1.30 p.m. London time.
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
European markets: Here are the opening calls
European markets are heading for a slightly higher open Thursday as investors reflect on the latest economic data from the region.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 14 points higher at 7,907, Germany’s DAX 3 points higher at 15,290, France’s CAC up 5 points at 7,232 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 16 points at 27,355, according to data from IG.
Earnings are set to come from London Stock Exchange, Metro Bank, Taylor WImpey and Anheuser-Busch InBev and data releases are focused on flash inflation figures for the euro zone for February.