BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone producer prices rose as expected in February, driven mainly by a jump in energy costs, data from the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat showed on Tuesday.
Eurostat said prices at factory gates in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.1 percent month-on-month in February for a 3.0 percent year-on-year increase.
The main upward push came from energy, the prices of which rose 0.2 percent on the month and 8.0 percent in annual terms.
Without the volatile energy component, producer prices were flat on the month and 1.2 percent higher than a year earlier, the same as in January.
Producer prices are an early indication of trends in consumer prices, because unless price changes at factory gates are absorbed by retailers, they are usually passed on to consumers.
The European Central Bank wants to keep consumer inflation below, but close to 2 percent over the medium term and an economic slowdown in the euro zone made the bank reverse its plans for a gradual tightening of policy this year.
Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop