BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone producer prices rose slightly faster than expected in January, pushed up by a jump in energy, intermediate and capital goods, data showed on Monday.
The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said prices at factory gates in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.4 percent month-on-month for a 3.0 percent year-on-year increase.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.3 percent monthly rise and a 2.9 percent annual gain.
Eurostat said energy prices rebounded in January, rising 0.4 percent on the month, after a 2.7 percent fall in December. Intermediate goods prices rose 0.3 percent after a 0.4 percent decline in December and capital goods prices rose 0.6 percent after no change in December.
Producer prices are an early indication of trends in consumer prices, because unless their changes are absorbed by intermediaries and retailers, they are passed on to consumers.
The European Central Bank wants to keep consumer inflation below but close to 2 percent over the medium term. Consumer prices rose 1.5 percent year-on-year in February accelerating from 1.4 percent in January because of the still high contribution of energy.
Without the volatile energy component, consumer prices rose 1.2 percent year-on-year in February — the same as producer prices excluding energy in January.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)