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Euro zone Dec inflation eases to 9.2% y/y as expected

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone consumer inflation decelerated as expected in December, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat confirmed on Wednesday, thanks to a continued fall in energy prices that had earlier lifted it to record highs.

Eurostat said prices in the 20 countries sharing the euro fell 0.4% month-on-month for a 9.2% year-on-year rise. The annual reading is in line with an earlier flash estimate and therefore market expectations.

Energy prices fell 6.6% month-on-month for a 25.5 year-on-year rise, decelerating from the 34.9% year-on-year gain the month before.

As a result, energy was no longer the main contributor to the overall year-on-year number, adding only 2.79 percentage points, while food contributed 2.88 percentage points. Non-energy industrial goods added 1.70 percentage points and services continued 1.83 points.

Without the volatile energy and food components, prices rose 0.7% month-on-month for a 6.9% annual increase. An even narrower measure that excludes also tobacco and alcohol prices, showed inflation up 0.6% month-on-month for a 5.2% year-on-year gain.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)