Low inflation now a key concern

Last updated 12:19 02/04/2014

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Inflation slowed in major developed countries in February amid a steep drop in energy prices, a report shows.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday consumer price inflation in its 34 member countries slowed to 1.4 per cent in February from 1.7 per cent in January.

Low inflation has become a key concern for many developed countries. Consumers and businesses delaying purchases in the hope of cheaper deals later can hurt growth.

An outright drop in prices, called deflation, can be very hard to reverse. Japan was stuck in deflation for about two decades, during which time its economy barely grew.

The US inflation rate was 1.1 per cent in February, while the European Union's was just 0.8 per cent, well below the 2 per cent many economists deem a suitable level.

The OECD, a think-tank for the world's most developed countries, said however, excluding volatile food and energy prices, core inflation for its 34 members was stable for a fourth month running at 1.6 per cent.

Inflation in G20 countries, which includes major developing countries such as Indonesia, India and Brazil, slowed to 2.3 per cent in February from 2.6 per cent in January, the OECD said.

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- AP

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