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Eurozone March Inflation Exceeds Flash Estimate

4/17/2012 7:11 AM ET

Eurozone inflation overshot its flash estimate in March due to rising energy prices, final data from Eurostat showed Tuesday.

Inflation for March was revised up to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent. The inflation rate has been 2.7 percent since December 2011. On a monthly basis, inflation came in at 1.3 percent in March.

Inflation continues to stay above the European Central Bank's 'below, but close to 2 percent' target. Inflation is set to remain above target in 2012, with upside risks prevailing, the ECB said in its monthly bulletin released in April.

Concerns about second round effects from higher energy prices on wages, suggest that there is quite a big hurdle for the ECB to cut interest rates further to help revive Eurozone growth, said ING Bank NV's Martin van Vliet.

Core inflation, excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, rose to 1.6 percent in March from 1.5 percent a month ago.

Annual increase in transportation cost remained at 4.6 percent, while growth in housing eased to 4 percent from 4.4 percent. Food inflation edged down to 3 percent from 3.1 percent. Energy prices surged 8.5 percent after rising 9.5 percent in February.

EU inflation remained unchanged at 2.9 percent in March. But it was slower than the 3.1 percent logged in March 2012.

In March, the lowest annual inflation rates in EU states were seen in Sweden, Greece and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, Hungary logged the highest rate in March.

by RTT Staff Writer

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