Annual inflation rate in the euro area remained negative in May.

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The annual inflation rate was -0.1% in May in the euro area. This is based on data that were published today by Eurostat. Eurostat which is the abbreviation for the statistical office of the European Union uses Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP) to measure inflation.

Rate of the decrease of price level slowed down in May by 0.1% as inflation rate was -0.2% in April. In March the inflation rate was exactly 0.0%. On the other hand, inflation rate in May last year was 0.3%. In May, price level has fallen for the second time in a row and inflation rate is deeply under the 2% target set by European Central Bank.

There were 16 EU countries reporting negative inflation rate also known as deflation. The lowest inflation rates are in Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus with reported inflation rates -3%, -2.5% and -1.9% respectively. The highest annual inflation rate was reported in Belgium 1.6% followed by Malta and Sweden at 1% and 0.8% respectively.

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Compared to April, annual inflation rate in May fell in 9, stagnated in 8 and rose in 11 EU countries. Negative inflation rate was caused mainly by the fall in the prices of petrol, gas and heating oil. On the other hand, the largest upward impact to euro area annual inflation came from the rise in the restaurants and cafes services prices as well as from the rise in rents and tobacco prices.