Inflation in the euro zone in January was 1.4 percent on an annual basis, from 1.3 percent in December. The European statistics agency Eurostat reported this on the basis of a definitive figure.
The figure corresponds to a provisional estimate. Core inflation, without the influence of sharply fluctuating prices for energy and food and beverages, fell to 1.1 percent from 1.3 percent a month earlier.
Business activity in the eurozone industry contracted less sharply in February than a month earlier. Market researcher Markit reported this on the basis of provisional figures.
The purchasing managers’ index for the euro area industry was 49.1 against 47.9 in January. Economists generally expected a drop to 47.4. A position of 50 or more indicates growth, below which shrinkage.
The index for the services sector in the euro zone recorded a level of 52.8 against 52.5 a month earlier. The composite indicator reached a score of 51.6 against 51.3 in January.
Markit announced that the contraction in German industry was less strong this month. In France, on the other hand, there was an unexpected decline in industrial activity.
The index for British industry showed a preliminary reading of 51.9 for February, compared to 50 in January. Economists generally expected a decrease to 49.7. The indicator for the British service sector fell to 53.3 from 53.9 a month earlier.
ING economist Bert Colijn says the outbreak of the new corona virus is a risk to the cautious recovery in the eurozone industry. According to him, there are early signs that the virus is affecting European industry, for example due to longer delivery times of products from China. This is likely to continue in March, he thinks.