Ahead of a crucial European Central Bank meeting, eurozone inflation stays low at 0.1 pct

Inflation across the 19-country eurozone held steady in November at 0.1 percent over the year, reinforcing the case for the European Central Bank to deliver a further big stimulus for the region this week.

The increase reported Wednesday by the European Union's statistics agency was below market expectations for a modest uptick to 0.2 percent. The ECB targets an inflation rate of just below 2 percent.

Perhaps more concerning for policymakers is that the core rate, which strips out volatile items such as energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, was also unchanged at 0.9 percent. The consensus in the markets was for an increase, to 1.1 percent.

Low inflation is the main reason why the ECB is expected to deliver another stimulus for the eurozone economy Thursday.