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France Inflation Slows Sharply In March

French inflation slowed sharply in March due to a strong downturn in energy and manufactured product prices, preliminary data from the statistical office Insee showed Tuesday.

Inflation slowed to 0.6 percent in March from 1.4 percent in February. The rate was forecast to slow to 1.1 percent.

Prices of manufactured goods and energy fell 0.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. Cost of services rose at a slower pace of 1 percent, while food price inflation increased to 1.9 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices remained flat in March, as seen in February, and in line with expectations.

At the same time, EU harmonized inflation eased notably to 0.7 percent from 1.6 percent a month ago. The rate was expected to slow moderately to 1.1 percent.

On a monthly basis, the harmonized index of consumer prices remained unchanged from February. Final data is due on April 15.

Another report from Insee showed that producer prices in the domestic market fell 0.6 percent on month in February after falling 0.1 percent in January.

On a yearly basis, producer prices fell back sharply by 0.9 percent following January's 0.2 percent increase.

In a separate communiqué, the Insee said household consumption declined at a slightly slower pace in February. Spending fell only 0.1 percent compared to a drop of 1.2 percent in January.

Household consumption of food products remained unchanged in February. Spending on engineered goods grew 0.2 percent, while consumption of energy declined 0.9 percent.

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