Chart of the Day: Eurozone Inflation Edging Close to Zero

| Tue Jun. 3, 2014 9:40 AM EDT

Hyperinflation is right around the corner! Oh, wait:

Consumer prices in the euro zone ticked ever closer to outright deflation, official data showed Tuesday, making it almost certain that the European Central Bank will move to ease monetary policy this week....Many economists say that inflation is already well below the danger zone for tipping into deflation, and some analysts have taken to calling the condition “lowflation.”

....The Governing Council of the European Central Bank, which meets Thursday, targets an inflation rate of just below 2 percent, a level that it has been undershooting for months. Adding to the pressure, a separate report showed the European labor market continuing to stagnate. The euro zone jobless rate came in at 11.7 percent in April, ticking down marginally from 11.8 percent in March, Eurostat said.

And what is the ECB planning to do about this? According to Gilles Moëc, the chief Europe economist for Deutsche Bank, "investors might be surprised to find that the scale of the central bank’s actions would probably be significantly smaller than those taken by other central banks, including the Federal Reserve in the United States." That makes sense. After all, with unemployment at 11.8 percent and inflation close to zero, you can't be too careful. One wrong move and inflation might skyrocket to 1 percent. And then where would we be?

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