Companies Eurostat FollowFRANKFURT, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Euro zone inflation slower further and even underlying price pressures appear to have peaked, Eurostat data showed on Friday, easing pressure on the European Central Bank to keep raising rates after its fastest rate-hike cycle on record.
Consumer prices increased by 5.3% in July versus 5.5% in June, extending a downtrend that started last autumn.
Meanwhile price growth excluding food and energy, the underlying measure closely watched by the ECB, was flat at 5.5%, Eurostat said, confirming preliminary figures.
Underlying price pressures are still strong and the labour market is unusually tight, suggesting that wage pressures will persist as workers enjoy superb bargaining power.
But economic growth is stagnating, investment is falling and overall consumption is flat, at best, suggesting that price pressures should ease as the economy suffers.
Balazs Koranyi, Sharon Singleton
European Central Bank, ECB, Eurostat, Thomson