Source AP ©

Euro-zone inflation up to 1.9 percent for March

Euro-zone inflation rose to 1.9 percent for March, the European Union's statistics agency said Monday.

The widely expected acceleration, from 1.8 percent in February, comes amid higher economic growth across the 13 countries that use the euro currency. The European Central Bank held off on increasing its benchmark interest rate last week, but signaled another increase this summer due to strong growth and falling unemployment.

The Frankfurt-based bank kept its benchmark at 3.75 percent.

The ECB is keen to keep inflation in check due to higher wages and creeping consumer price increases, which could damage long-term economic growth. Year-on-year inflation still remains below the ECB's just-under 2 percent guideline.

Eurostat said it saw price increases in alcohol and tobacco products, hotels and restaurants and education costs in March, while prices for telecommunications, heating oil and transport fuels "had the biggest downward impacts."

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