News / Economy

Disappearing Eurozone Inflation Set to Heighten ECB Concerns

European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure (L), Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (2nd L) and European Central Bank Mission Chief for Greece Klaus Masuch (R) talk after a meeting at the Prime minister's office in Athens, August 28, 2014.
European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure (L), Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (2nd L) and European Central Bank Mission Chief for Greece Klaus Masuch (R) talk after a meeting at the Prime minister's office in Athens, August 28, 2014.
Reuters

Eurozone inflation dropped as expected to a fresh five-year low in August, data showed on Friday, something likely to concern the European Central Bank but not force it into immediate policy intervention.

Consumer prices in the 18 countries using the euro rose by just 0.3 percent year-on-year in August, the smallest increase since October 2009, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat reported.

Inflation, which dropped unexpectedly to 0.4 percent in July, has been locked in what ECB President Mario Draghi called a 'danger zone' of below 1 percent since October last year.

Vanishing inflation poses problems for the ECB as it tries to respond to the bloc's stalled recovery, which is facing additional struggles because of economic sanctions imposed against Russia in July over its involvement in the deepening conflict in Ukraine.

“The very low eurozone inflation reading for August reinforces pressure on the ECB to consider further monetary stimulus on top of what is already in the pipeline,” said Martin van Vliet, senior eurozone economist at ING.

Any immediate action coming at the ECB's Sept. 4 policy meeting is not considered likely, though also not impossible, according to ECB sources talking to Reuters earlier this week. The bank is likely to wait.

Investors and markets, however, will seek more insight from Draghi about what can and will be done by the ECB and European governments to push through reforms and revive growth.

A cocktail of jobless recovery, sluggish growth and low inflation is a major worry for the eurozone and the ECB has urged governments to speed up implementation of structural reforms, vital for Europe's economy to heal.

Some countries are opposed to too much loose monetary policy, however, and there are a number of reform laggards in the currency bloc.

“He is walking a tightrope between conservative European institutions and the markets desire for more stimulus,” said Guy Nicholls at Aberdeen Asset Management.

“But as every month passes we get closer to the dread of deflation and Draghi looks more and more like Nero fiddling while Rome burns,” he added.

The euro rose to the day's high of $1.3195 as investors trimmed bets against the currency after the data and German Bund futures fell.

The drop in August inflation was led by a 2.0 percent decline in the highly volatile prices of energy and a prices of food, alcohol and tobacco falling by 0.3 percent for a second month in a row in August.

In June, the ECB cut interest rates to record lows, started charging banks to keep their funds overnight and launched a new long-term loan program, which will start in September and aims to give banks an incentive to lend more to the real economy.

Since then, the ECB has been in a wait-and-see mode, wanting to see the impact of its new liquidity injection first before considering further stimulus measures, though Draghi has stressed repeatedly the ECB stands ready to do more if needed.

The ECB targets an inflation rate at below-but-close to 2 percent, a level not seen since the first quarter of 2013.

In a separate data release Eurostat said that unemployment in the eurozone was, as expected unchanged at 11.5 percent for a second months in a row in July, leaving 18.4 million people without jobs in the 9.6 trillion euro economy.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9220
JPY
USD
119.88
GBP
USD
0.6757
CAD
USD
1.2640
INR
USD
62.626

Rates may not be current.