22 January 2003, 15:31  Eurozone inflation rises in December

The annual rate of inflation in the eurozone rose in December as hotels and restaurant costs offset a decline in clothes prices. Inflation, as measured by the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP), rose 0.2pc in December from November and was up 2.3pc on a year-on-year basis, EU statistics office Eurostat reported today. The December rate of 2.3pc was up from 2.2pc the previous month and marked the fifth month in which the inflation rate has been above the European Central Bank's (ECB) 2.0pc target In the EU as a whole, the annual inflation rate rose to 2.2pc from 2.1pc. Hotel and restaurant prices rose 0.4pc in December from November, while recreation and culture prices also rose 0.4pc, Eurostat said. Clothing costs fell 0.4pc as retailers offered discount prices in a bid to boost sales. Yesterday's December inflation report from the UK indicated that retailers in Britain were also forced to slash prices to lure in consumers as the weaker global economy prompted caution among shoppers Ireland continued to have the highest annual rate of inflation; its HICP came in at 4.6pc, although this was down from 4.7pc in November, followed by Spain and Portugal, at 4.0pc. //www.fxcentre.com

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