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Last Updated: Friday, 15 September 2006, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Energy slide cools Euro inflation
German shopper
An imminent VAT hike is spurring spending in Germany
Slipping energy prices helped push headline eurozone inflation down in August, official data shows.

Annual inflation for the 12 nations using the euro fell from 2.4% in July to 2.3%, the EU's Eurostat agency said.

Policymakers are concerned about keeping a lid on inflation, as Europe's leading economies recover.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has set a 2% inflation comfort zone and raised the benchmark interest rate to 3% last month to tackle rising consumer prices.

The markets anticipate a further 0.25% rise when the ECB meets in October.

Energy prices were still the main driver of inflation but year-on-year prices had climbed only 8.1% in August, against 9.5% in July and 11% in June.

In separate Eurostat data, the eurozone trade surplus was 1.5bn euros ($1.91bn; 1.02bn ) - the same as in June but less than a quarter of the size it was a year ago.

The rise in imports came mainly from energy purchases.


SEE ALSO
ECB raises interest rates to 3%
03 Aug 06 |  Business
Inflation eases slightly in July
15 Aug 06 |  Business
Petrol prices fuel US inflation
16 Aug 06 |  Business

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