April 18, 2018 / 9:05 AM / 7 months ago

Euro zone inflation rises less than estimated in March

FILE PHOTO: Tourists walk past a Spanish Iberico ham shop in Madrid, Spain, August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Paul Hanna/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro currency rose in March by less than previously estimated, European statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday, as unprocessed food prices increased by less than previously thought.

The downward revision shows the difficult task the European Central Bank (ECB) faces in bringing inflation to its target of close to but below 2.0 percent.

Prices rose by 1.3 percent in March, compared to the same period last year, down from Eurostat’s previous estimate of 1.4 percent. Compared to the previous month, prices were up 1.0 percent.

Unprocessed food prices, previously seen expanding by 0.9 percent, rose by 0.8 percent in March. Services and energy prices contributed most to the annual rise, but energy prices fell in March compared to February.

Without energy and unprocessed food prices, the two most volatile components, prices rose 1.3 percent on the month and year-on-year, a slight increase from the previous annual rates.

The ECB defines this as its core inflation metric.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Alastair Macdonald

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