European inflation rate remains in ECB ‘danger zone’.

Annual consumer inflation for the euro zone fell to 0.5% for March, its lowest level since 2009, and the sixth month it has fallen below the European Central Bank’s 1.0% danger level.  The news has increased speculation that the ECB will undertake further monetary policy easing measures, including a possible cut in interest rates, or indeed negative interest rates, to ward off the threat of deflation when it meets later this week.  At its last meeting the ECB held rates unchanged but said at the time that it may take bold action should the outlook deteriorate.    Analysts have noted that with Easter falling far later this year, a time when hotel and flight prices typically rise, the ECB may wait until next month before taking any firm decision.    With further radical measures such as such as quantitative easing and negative deposit rates being suggested, Thursday’s meeting will be closely watched.