BERLIN, Dec 29 (Reuters) - German inflation accelerated ahead of expectations in December, the Federal Statistics Office said on Friday, with consumer prices rising 1.6 percent year-on-year, compared to the 1.4 percent forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.
The preliminary numbers, harmonized to make them comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries, also showed that prices had risen 0.8 percent compared to November, faster than the 0.6 percent increase analysts expected.
High food costs made the largest contribution to the headline price increases, the agency said, followed by increased rents.
Inflation figures from Europe's largest economy are closely watched because of their influence on the European Central Bank's monetary policy. (Reporting by Joseph Nasr, editing by Thomas Escritt)