Eurozone inflation holds steady at 2.2 percent

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Inflation across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro was unchanged at 2.2 percent in the year to December.

Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, did not provide further details in its estimate released Friday. More information will be provided in a second estimate to be published later this month.

Inflation in the eurozone remains above the European Central Bank's target of keeping the annual rate of price rises "just below 2 percent."

The ECB holds its first policy meeting next Thursday. It is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record low of 0.75 percent even though the eurozone economy as a whole is back in recession.

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