Germany's inflation rate slowed sharply in May, data from the country's statistics office indicated Tuesday, suggesting that price pressures around the region could be easing.
Germany's harmonized inflation rate, used to benchmark consumer prices around the single-currency area, slowed to 1.4% in May, Destatis said, from a 2% pace in the previous month. Analysts had expected a reading of 1.5%. Eurostat, the region's statistics office, will publish its so-called flash estimate of consumer prices Wednesday at 11:00 CET.
The euro was little changed following the German release, however, after rising quickly in the wake of a Reuters report that suggested the European Central Bank might be prepared to signal a policy shift at it next rate-setting meeting in June. The euro was quoted at 1.1173 by 13:10 BST.
The currency had been under pressure for much of the session as traders returned from a three-day weekend to comments from ECB President Mario Draghi that appeared to indicate no such ambition.
In testimony made to the ECON Committee of the European Parliament Monday in Brussels, Draghi clearly indicated that the region's nascent recovery was still in need of "substantial" monetary policy support.
"Despite a firmer recovery, and looking through the volatile readings in HICP inflation over recent months, underlying inflation pressures have remained subdued," Draghi said. "Domestic cost pressures, notably from wages, are still insufficient to support a durable and self-sustaining convergence of inflation toward our medium-term objective. For domestic price pressures to strengthen, we still need very accommodative financing conditions, which are themselves dependent on a fairly substantial amount of monetary accommodation."
The dovish tone of the comments, made during an appearance before European lawmakers Monday in Brussels, added to the single currency's pressure after reports from the German media suggested Greece could default of on of the upcoming payments linked to its 2015 bailout agreement - a report that was quickly and firmly denied by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos.