Rising oil prices see inflation in euro zone slow only slightly in March

Sat, Mar 31, 2012, 01:00

Inflation in the euro zone slowed slightly in March but not by as much as expected, with rising oil prices hitting consumers and complicating the European Central Bank’s task of reviving growth without firing up the cost of living.

Consumer prices in the 17 nations sharing the euro were up 2.6 per cent in March from a year ago, compared with 2.7 per cent in February, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat said yesterday. While inflation is below last year’s peak of 3 per cent, economists and the ECB had expected prices to fall steadily as the economy has stumbled, offering some relief to households at a time of sharp spending cuts.