Core inflation in euro zone drops to lowest level in two years

Purchasing manager’s index at lowest point in six years

The European Central Bank’s governing council is set to meet in Frankfurt next Wednesday.

The European Central Bank’s governing council is set to meet in Frankfurt next Wednesday.

 

Core inflation in the euro zone has hit its lowest level for two years, amid mounting signs that the single currency area’s economy is losing momentum.

Eurostat, the bloc’s statistics agency, said the core measure, which strips out more volatile price changes for energy and food products and is seen as a better measure of underlying price pressures, fell from 1 per cent to 0.8 per cent in the year to March.

The headline measure also fell slightly, from 1.5 per cent in the year to February to 1.4 per cent last month.

The fall means core inflation is now at its lowest level since March, 2017 and comes amid mounting signs that the region’s economic expansion is at risk from weaker global demand and tumult in global politics.

A closely watched poll of purchasing managers showed manufacturers’ woes had intensified, especially in Germany, the region’s economic powerhouse.

The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for the euro zone hit 47.5 in March – the lowest level in six years and well below the crucial 50 level which marks the boundary between expansion and contraction.

The European Central Bank’s governing council is set to meet in Frankfurt next Wednesday, though it is not expected to announce any additional measures just yet having laid out a series of new policies in March. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019