european central bank....euro (bolja).jpg
Photograph: Photo by Volker Kannacher, used under CC BY-ND

The prices of goods and services in the eurozone declined by 0.2 per cent year-on-year in April, a new estimate issued Friday showed, leaving the bloc with a deflation rate for the second time this year on the back of falling energy prices.

This comes despite efforts by the European Central Bank (ECB) to boost consumer prices and push the inflation rate back up to its annual target of just below 2 per cent.

ECB chief Mario Draghi earlier this month kept open the door to a new round of monetary stimulus to help boost inflation and economic growth.

Fears of deflation have dogged the 19-country European currency bloc, but its officials have argued that the negative rates seen so far have not been driven by an across-the-board drop in price levels, but rather external factors such as oil prices.

The April drop continued to be driven by energy prices, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said in the preliminary estimate it issued on Friday. They fell 8.6 per cent on the year, after dropping 8.7 per cent in March.

This was offset by gains in prices for food, alcohol and tobacco products, as well as for services and non-energy industrial goods.

Eurozone inflation had already slipped briefly into negative territory in February.

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