World Economy

Euro zone inflation confirmed at 0.2%, all eyes on ECB

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro came in at 0.2 percent in December, confirming preliminary estimates, boosted by rising prices in cafes and restaurant according to official data.

Eurostat data showed consumer prices in the currency bloc were unchanged from earlier estimates released this month, resulting in an annual rise of 0.2 percent year on year in December.

The European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters is pictured in Frankfurt, Germany, September 3, 2015.
ECB 'playing for time' after disappointing December

The European Union's annual inflation figure is up from 0.1 percent recorded in November.

With disappointing industrial production numbers, moribund inflation and slow growth, analysts are questioning whether the ECB could signal more stimulus when it meets this coming week, having sorely disappointed markets last month.

In December, the ECB failed to meet market expectations for the bank to strengthen its QE program. It opted instead to widen the range of asset purchases it makes, extend the duration of the program to March 2017 (and possibly beyond) and announced a slightly more modest deposit rate cut.

ECB President Mario Draghi said at the time that he expected inflation to start to pick up "at the turn of the year," and continue to move toward the central bank's target of just under 2 percent in 2016 and 2017.

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