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Euro zone producer prices edge up

Euro zone producer prices edged up in December against the previous month and registered a smaller-than-expected decline versus a year earlier, despite a downward pull from cheaper energy, data showed.

Prices at factory gates in the 16-country area rose 0.1% month-on-month and fell 2.9% year-on-year, the European Union's statistics office said.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected no change in prices month-on-month and a 3.0% annual fall.

In November, prices rose by a revised 0.2% month-on-month and dipped 4.4% year-on-year.

Prices of intermediate, capital as well as durable and non-durable consumer goods all rose 0.1% on the month and only energy prices fell, by 0.2%.

Producer prices are important to the European Central Bank because they show inflationary pressure, or the reverse, early in the pipeline. The ECB, which wants annual consumer inflation to be just below 2%, meets on interest rates on Thursday. (Reuters)