BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone producer prices fell unexpectedly in April, registering the steepest annual decline in more than six years due to sharply lower energy costs, data from the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat showed on Thursday.
Eurostat said prices at factory gates in the 19 countries sharing the euro currency dropped by 0.3 percent month-on-month for a 4.4 percent year-on-year decline, the latter the greatest decline since November 2009.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected a 0.1 percent month-on-month rise and a 4.1 percent drop on a yearly basis.
Excluding the 1.1 percent fall in energy, producer prices were up 0.1 percent in April, compared to a 0.1 percent decline in March.
This positive reading was due to slightly higher prices for intermediate, capital and durable goods, with non-durable goods prices falling.
Energy prices fell 1.1 percent after a 1.1 percent increase in March. On an annual basis, energy prices were 12.5 percent lower.
While the data relates to April, 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 euro zone was in deflation for a second consecutive month in May.
The ECB 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.
For further details of Eurostat data click on:
Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop
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