Euro zone
A man uses his mobile phone to take a picture of the euro sculpture outside the head quarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt on Nov. 5, 2013. Reuters

A flash estimate released by Eurostat showed annual euro zone inflation in December dropped to 0.8 percent, down from 0.9 percent in November, remaining significantly below the European Central Bank, or ECB’s, inflation ceiling of 2 percent, for the eleventh consecutive month. Analysts had expected annual consumer inflation to remain unchanged at November levels.

Core inflation on a yearly basis for the 17-nation bloc stood at 0.7 percent in December, lower than 0.9 percent recorded in November, and analysts’ expectations for a reading of 0.8 percent. Food, alcohol & tobacco products recorded the highest annual inflation rate in December at 1.8 percent, followed by services, which rose 1.0 percent.

A separate data set released by Eurostat showed that industrial producer prices in the euro zone and the 28-member European Union dropped 0.1 percent in November, compared to a 0.5 percent fall in October.

On an annual basis, producer prices index, or PPI, fell by 1.2 percent in the euro area and by 1.0 percent in the European Union.

Among the member states for which data are available, the largest annual increases were seen in Estonia (+8.7 percent), Romania (+0.9 percent), Ireland (+0.8 percent) and the Czech Republic (+0.6 percent), and the steepest declines in the total index were observed in Bulgaria (-4.0 percent), the Netherlands (-3.4 percent) and Belgium (-2.7 percent)