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Euro zone retail sales fall more

EURO zone retail sales dropped much more than expected and producer prices fell in February, underlining the weakness of consumer demand and waning inflationary pressures in the contracting economy, data showed.

The European Union's statistics office said retail sales in the 16 countries using the euro fell 0.6 percent month on month in February for a year-on-year 4.0-percent decline. Retail sales are an indication of household demand.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.4-percent monthly fall and a 2.5-percent annual drop. "February's fall in euro zone retail sales confirms that spending is not benefitting from sharp falls in inflation," said Jennifer McKeown, economist at Capital Economics.

Eurostat said prices at factory gates in the euro zone fell 0.5 percent month on month in February, as expected by markets, for a year-on-year 1.8-percent fall against forecasts of a 1.6-percent decline.

The main driver behind the annual decline in producer prices was a 4.5-percent drop in energy costs.


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