Inflation in the eurozone fell to 0.5 percent in March down from 0.7 percent in February. It is the lowest rate since November 2009.
It is the sixth consecutive month that the rate of inflation has been below 1.0 percent – the European Central Bank’s “danger zone”.
Analysts saw it as a shock drop having expected the figure to be 0.6 percent. The fall raises expectations the ECB will take radical action to stop the threat of deflation in the currency bloc when it meets on Thursday.
But this year’s late Easter, which has delayed the impact of rising travel and hotel prices at a time when many people go away in Europe, could encourage the ECB to wait until its June meeting to act.