A further slowdown in euro zone inflation in May was confirmed on Monday, as the cost of telecommunication and food kept prices low, confirming a problem that the European Central Bank recently sought to stem.
Consumer prices in 18 countries using the euro rose by 0.5 percent on the year in May, keeping them in the ‘danger zone’ of below 1 percent, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat data said.
Prices fell by 0.1 percent on the month in May, with the cost of services down by 0.2 percent when compared with April.
It confirms a problematic pricing trend that weighs on debt-strapped countries and recently prompted the European Central Bank to act.
In June, the ECB became the first major central bank to introduce negative deposit rates – charging banks to park funds overnight. It also launched ultra-cheap four-year loans to banks in order to boost lending to companies.
ECB President Mario Draghi said he was ready to act again, leaving investors guessing as to when he could start buying assets such as bonds – a measure known as quantitative easing.