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Eurozone inflation falls to 0.5 percent, adds pressure on central bank to act Thursday

Inflation in the eurozone sagged to an annual rate of 0.5 percent in May, adding to pressure on the European Central Bank to take action to support growth this week.

The figure released Tuesday from the European Union's statistics agency fell from 0.7 percent in April. Market analysts had expected 0.6 percent.

Inflation has been low for several months, increasing concerns that the 18 countries that use the euro could fall into outright deflation, a downward price spiral that chokes off growth and can be difficult to get out of.

The ECB has said it's not happy with low inflation, which is well below its goal of just under 2 percent. Analysts expect it to cut interest rates and possibly take further measures Thursday to spur credit to businesses.