BRUSSELS – Inflation in the 19-country eurozone was at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in July, a below-target figure that’s likely to make the European Central Bank cautious about phasing out its stimulus programs too soon.
The Eurostat statistics agency said Monday the annual price increase was the same as in June and due mainly to energy prices, which were up 2.2 percent on the year. The price of services rose 1.5 percent and industrial goods only 0.5 percent.
The ECB wants inflation to be close to 2 percent, a level it estimates is healthiest for the economy. With other indicators pointing to strong growth in the eurozone, the central bank is expected to start planning a phase-out of its stimulus — but those plans could be delayed if inflation remains weak.