The inflation rate for the euro zone was unchanged in May compared with the same month last year. That means that for the first time since the euro was created prices in the region stopped rising.
Economists expect them to fall in June and July, increasing the risk of deflation. The Eurostat estimate did not give a detailed breakdown, but economists inflation slowed because oil was much less expensive than a year ago. At the same time it was revealed that loans to euro-zone businesses and households grew at the slowest pace on record in April. The European Central Bank said annual loan growth to the private sector fell to its lowest level since data was first collected in 1992. Lending to firms grew by 5.2 percent in April while loans to households grew at just 0.1 percent annually.