Europe’s inflation eases to 6.9% as energy falls but food up


Inflation in the 20 countries that use the euro currency slowed to the lowest level in a year as energy prices dropped, but food costs were still on the rise, keeping pressure on the European Central Bank to hike interest rates further.

Consumer prices in the eurozone jumped 6.9% in March from a year earlier, down from 8.5% in February, according to data released Friday by the European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat.

Eurozone inflation has been easing since peaking at 10.6% in October, and the latest figure is slightly below what most economists had expected. It reflects significant drops in some of the continent's bigger economies like Spain and the Netherlands, where inflation halved in March.

Economists looked beyond the headline number to focus on so-called core inflation, which increased to a record 5.7% from 5.6% the previous month. Core inflation,...

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