Preliminary German inflation eases to lowest since Dec 2010

BERLIN Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:05am EST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to media following a wreath-laying ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in Ankara February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to media following a wreath-laying ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in Ankara February 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

BERLIN (Reuters) - German annual inflation eased slightly more than forecast to its lowest level in more than two years in February, coming in below the European Central Bank's (ECB) target for price stability for a second straight month, preliminary data showed on Thursday.

Consumer prices rose by 1.5 percent on the year in February, its smallest increase since December 2010, data from the Statistics Office showed.

That was less than the 1.6 forecast in a Reuters poll of 27 economists and below January's 1.7 percent yearly rate of inflation.

The ECB targets an inflation of just below 2 percent for the euro zone as a whole.

On a monthly basis German prices climbed by 0.6 percent, after dropping by 0.5 percent in January. The rise was below a Reuters consensus forecast for a 0.7 percent increase in prices.

Consumer prices harmonized to compare with other European Union countries showed a monthly gain of 0.8 percent and an annual rise of 1.8 percent.

Final German price data for February are due to be released on March 12, the Office said.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin)

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