BRUSSELS, March 2 (Reuters) - Euro zone prices at factory gates slowed in January because of a sharp deceleration of energy price growth, data from the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat showed on Friday.
Eurostat said industrial producer prices grew 0.4 percent month-on-month in January, as expected by economists polled by Reuters, for a 1.5 percent year-on-year gain, against market expectations of a 1.6 percent increase.
The annual rate compares to 2.2 percent in December and 2.8 percent in November, as energy prices grew only 0.5 percent year-on-year in January, against 2.7 percent in December and 5.1 percent in November.
Without the volatile energy prices, producer price inflation was 1.9 percent year-on-year in January, the same as in December.
Producer prices are an indication of consumer inflation trends, because price increases in factories are usually passed on to consumers.
The European Central Bank wants to keep consumer inflation below, but cloe to 2 percent over the medium term. (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)