The Spanish EU harmonized consumer price index declined in March from the previous year, an official report showed Monday. Thus, Spain became the first nation in the EU 16 to report a year-on-year slide in consumer prices.

A flash estimate from the statistical office INE revealed that the harmonized index of consumer prices, or HICP, fell 0.1% year-on-year in March, marking the first decline since 1961. In February, the indicator was up 0.7%.

The final HICP inflation data for March would be published on April 15.

Eurozone inflation is forecast to ease to 0.9% in March from 1.2% in February. The statistical office Eurostat is scheduled to release the preliminary estimate on March 31.

The European Central Bank is expected to cut its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 1% and consider additional unconventional measures this week, Christoph Weil, a Commerzbank's analyst said Monday. The central bank had already reduced the rate to the lowest level in the institution's 10-year history.

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