Brussels, Belgium (4E) – Construction activity in the 18-member euro area dropped in May, further evidence that the currency bloc’s economic rebound continues to be soft.
The statistics agency said construction fell 1.5 percent in May from the prior month, but advanced 3.5 percent from the year-earlier month. Previous data showed that industrial output also significantly dropped in May.
The annual inflation rate remained at 0.5 percent in June, according to the European Union’s statistics agency report released Thursday.
The decline in June is the ninth consecutive month that inflation fell below 1 percent. The European Central Bank (ECB) has set an inflation rate target of just below 2 percent. Austria is the only member that has an inflation rate that is close to the ECB’s target, with prices gaining 1.7 percent from June 2013.
Consumer prices dropped on the year in Portugal, Greece and Slovakia, and remained flat in Cyprus and Spain.
The results indicate that the euro zone is currently in a period of low inflation and economic growth, raising the risk that the bloc could slide further into a period of falling prices by some unexpected setback.