April 4, 2016 / 9:15 AM / 3 years ago

Euro zone producer prices fall by more than expected in February

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone producer prices fell by more than expected in February and the pace of their monthly decline increased, excluding volatile energy prices, data from the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat showed on Monday.

Eurostat said prices at factory gates in the 19 countries sharing the euro currency dropped by 0.7 percent month-on-month for a 4.2 percent year-on-year decline. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected a 0.5 percent month-on-month drop.

Excluding the 2.1 percent fall in energy, producer prices were down 0.2 percent in February, compared to 0.1 percent in January.

This was mainly because of falling prices for non-durable consumer goods and a decline in price increases for durable consumer goods, the only sector still to show price increases.

Energy prices, which had still fallen by 3.7 percent month-on-month in January were down -2.1 percent in February

While the data is two months old, it shows the struggle the European Central Bank is facing in bring consumer price inflation back to its target of below but close to 2 percent over a two-year horizon.

The bank has been printing money to buy euro zone government bonds over the last 12 months to inject more cash into the economy and accelerate price growth.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warned European leaders last month that monetary policy alone would not be enough to jump-start the economy and that governments needed to do their job by pushing through structural reforms.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing Alissa de Carbonnel

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