Euro zone inflation easing confirmed, trade surplus dips

BRUSSELS, July 16 (Reuters) - Euro zone inflation slowed in June after a steady acceleration in the first months of 2021, official data confirmed on Friday, while the bloc's trade surplus shrank in May due to a decline of exports.

European Union's statistics office Eurostat said consumer prices in the 19-country single-currency bloc rose 1.9% in June on the year, slightly less than the 2.0% increase in May, in the first slowdown since last September.

The final data confirmed an initial estimate released by Eurostat on June 30 read more .

One measure of core inflation, which excludes volatile unprocessed food and energy, was confirmed as stable at 0.9% in June. A narrower measure, also stripping off alcohol and tobacco prices, was also confirmed at 0.9%, slightly lower than 1.0% in May.

The European Central Bank expects inflation to rise later in the year, but it has made it clear that the acceleration is mainly due to one-off factors as the global economy recovers from the worst phase of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, no tightening is on the cards and borrowing costs are set to stay ultra-low for years to come.

Energy prices contributed 1.16 percentage points to the overall 1.9% inflation.

In a separate release, Eurostat said that the euro zone trade balance in goods with the rest of the world recorded a smaller surplus in May than in April.

In May, the bloc exported goods worth 188.2 billion euros ($222 billion) and imported 180.7 billion euros of goods, for a surplus of 7.5 billion euros.

In April, the surplus had been 10.9 billion euros, mostly due to a higher volume of exports.

For Eurostat release, click on:

($1 = 0.8471 euros)

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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