Europe

Eurozone inflation falls back below target in March

A worker applies sealing putty on a construction fence placed around a shop to be restored at the Sol square in Madrid, Wednesday, March 29, 2017.  The square, one of the most visited places of the Spanish capital, is a lively commercial area full of shops, restaurants and pubs. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

A worker applies sealing putty on a construction fence placed around a shop to be restored at the Sol square in Madrid, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. The square, one of the most visited places of the Spanish capital, is a lively commercial area full of shops, restaurants and pubs. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)  (The Associated Press)

Official figures show that inflation across the 19-country eurozone fell sharply in March as underlying price pressures eased and some of last year's sharp rise in oil prices dropped out of the annual comparison.

The European Union's statistics agency Eurostat said Friday that the annual consumer price inflation rate was 1.5 percent, down from 2 percent in February. That puts it again below the European Central Bank's target of just below 2 percent.

Eurostat found that higher energy prices had less of an upward impact. Though energy costs were 7.3 percent higher in the year to March, the equivalent increase in February was a full two percentage points more.

Also the core rate, which strips out volatile items such as energy, was only 0.7 percent against 0.9 percent in February.