German inflation eases unexpectedly in January

BERLIN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - German inflation slowed unexpectedly in January, the Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday, with consumer prices rising 1.4 percent year-on-year, compared to an unchanged reading of 1.6 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 fallen by 1.0 percent compared to December, below the 0.7 percent fall expected by analysts.

Lower energy inflation made the largest contribution to the weaker headline price figure, the agency said.

Inflation figures from Europe's largest economy are closely watched because of their influence on the European Central Bank's monetary policy. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Paul Carrel)