EU inflation eases to ECB 2.0% target in January: Eurostat

Eurozone inflation fell back towards the European Central Bank's medium-term target in January, easing to an annual 2.0 percent, EU data confirmed on Thursday.

The drop, from 2.2 percent in December, takes the measure of annual price rises to its lowest level since November 2010, when inflation stood at 1.9 percent in the 17-nation eurozone, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

In January 2012, the annual inflation rate was 2.7 percent, it said.

For the 27-member European Union, inflation came in at 2.1 percent in January, down from 2.3 percent in December, compared with the 2.9 percent rate a year earlier.

The highest rate in January 2013, 5.1 percent, was recorded in Romania, followed by 3.7 percent in Estonia and 3.2 percent in the Netherlands, with pricing pressures clearly subdued given the weak state of the underlying economy.

The ECB, whose first duty is to ensure price stability, has established a medium-term inflation target of "close to but below 2.0 percent".