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French inflation rises to 1.5 percent in January

PARIS, Jan 31 (Reuters) - French consumer prices advanced in January to give a 12-month inflation rate of 1.5 percent - above forecasts - preliminary EU-harmonized data from the INSEE statistics body showed on Wednesday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inflation easing back to 1.1 percent in January from 1.2 percent in December.

Separately, INSEE said producer prices were unchanged in December with a 0.0 percent reading over the month.

The French data comes after weak German inflation data earlier this week supported a view that the European Central Bank would take a cautious approach to unwinding its massive monetary stimulus program.

The ECB's target is for inflation of just below 2 percent in the euro zone bloc. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Bate Felix)