FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Official statistics show annual inflation was unchanged at 1.5 percent in September in the 19 countries that use the euro currency.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, fell to 1.1 percent from 1.2 percent in August.
The headline figure released Friday by the European Union statistics agency Eurostat was short of the 1.6 percent expected by market analysts.
The reading underlines the challenge facing the European Central Bank. Inflation remains below the bank's goal of just under 2 percent, even as the bank is contemplating the gradual withdrawal next year its monetary stimulus in the form of 60 billion euros per month in bond purchases. The hope is that a growing economy will eventually push up demand for labor, wages and inflation.