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Eurozone Inflation Cools, Jobless Rate Steady

Consumer prices rose 2% on the year in August.Consumer prices rose 2% on the year in August.

Inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro cooled slightly in August, while the number of people out of work fell during July, developments likely to reinforce the European Central Bank’s cautious approach to dialing back monetary stimulus.

The latest economic signals follow data showing the eurozone’s economy slowed further in the three months through June, as exports sputtered and business confidence weakened on worries over future relations with the currency area’s largest trading partners, MarketWatch reported.

The European Union’s statistics agency said in a preliminary estimate Friday that consumer prices in the eurozone rose 2% on the year in August, a touch weaker than the 2.1% annual rate recorded the previous month. Energy prices rose at a slower pace than in July, as did prices for services and industrial goods, the agency said.

In July, the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2% compared with June, though the number of people out of work in the eurozone fell by 72,000, to 13.3 million. Greece and Spain recorded the highest unemployment rates; the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland the lowest.

ECB officials concluded in July that the eurozone economy still needs “significant” stimulus from monetary policy to ensure inflation continues to climb, according to minutes of their late July policy meeting published this month.

Friday’s data and broader signs growth in the economy is slowing will likely reinforce that thinking. Officials in July felt that “monetary policy had to remain patient, prudent and persistent,” the ECB’s minutes said.

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