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Eurozone inflation accelerates, ahead of ECB meeting next week

The eurozone's annual headline inflation accelerated to 1.3% in December 2019 from 1.0% in the prior month, final data from Eurostat showed.

The latest reading, which came ahead of the European Central Bank's Jan. 23 monetary policy decision, matched the preliminary forecast and the consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday.

December's annual inflation rate was supported by a 1.8% annual rise in the prices of services. Energy prices ticked up 0.2% annually while non-energy industrial goods' prices rose 0.5%. 

Core inflation, which excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, remained unchanged at 1.3%.

Within the bloc, Germany's annual harmonized consumer prices accelerated to 1.5% in December 2019, in line with the preliminary estimate, from the previous month's 1.2%. Italy's inflation rose to 0.5% from 0.2%.

On a monthly basis, the eurozone's headline inflation came in at 0.3% and core inflation stood at 0.4%.

The euro was down 0.2% against the dollar around 6 a.m. ET.

Minutes of the bank's previous meeting released Jan. 16 indicated that ECB struck a more hawkish tone amid concerns about the effect of low rates on households. "The present monetary policy stimulus appeared fully appropriate, lending substantial support to growth and inflation developments," the bank said.

The ECB expects inflation to rise to 1.1% in 2020, 1.4% in 2021 and 1.6% in 2022, still below the medium-term target of just below 2.0%.