Euro zone inflation confirmed negative in October on weak energy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone annual inflation was negative for a third consecutive month in October, matching a four-year low, as energy prices were around 8% lower than a year earlier.

FILE PHOTO: Euro coins are seen in front of displayed flag and map of European Union in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, May 28 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro was plus 0.2% month-on-month in October for a 0.3% year-on-year fall, the same annual decline as in September and in line with the initial estimates released at the start of November.

Food, alcohol and tobacco added 0.38 percentage points to the final results, Eurostat said, and services another 0.19 points, but an 8.2% year-on-year plunge in energy prices subtracted 0.81 percentage points from the final number.

Non-energy industrial goods also reduced inflation by 0.03 points.

Without volatile energy and unprocessed food prices, what the European Central Bank (ECB) calls core inflation, prices rose 0.1% month-on-month and 0.4% year-on-year.

An even narrower measure that also excludes alcohol and tobacco showed a 0.1% month-on-month and a 0.2% year-on-year increase.

The ECB wants to keep inflation below, but close to 2% over the medium term.

Across the euro zone, the highest inflation was 1.6% in Slovakia, followed by 1.2% in the Netherlands and by 1.1% in Austria.

Declines were sharpest in Greece at 2.0%, Estonia at 1.7% and 1.5% in Ireland.

In the bloc’s largest and third largest economies, Germany and Italy, inflation was negative. It was up by just 0.1% in France, the euro zone’s second largest economy.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop