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Originally published Monday, April 30, 2012 at 2:05 AM

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Eurozone inflation eases to 2.6 percent

Inflation in the 17 countries that use the euro fell to an annual 2.6 percent in April, but was still higher than analysts' expectations.

The Associated Press

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FRANKFURT, Germany —

Inflation in the 17 countries that use the euro fell to an annual 2.6 percent in April, but was still higher than analysts' expectations.

The figure fell from 2.7 percent in March, but remained above the 2.5 percent average forecast.

Fed by higher oil prices, inflation has remained stuck well above the European Central Bank's goal of just under 2 percent, a target that it now says won't be reached until early 2013.

The stubborn inflation rate is important to the eurozone debt crisis because it discourages the central bank from cutting its 1 percent benchmark interest rates. Lower bank rates can help growth but worsen inflation.

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