BERLIN (Reuters) - Annual inflation in Europe's largest economy decelerated in June to its lowest rate in 18 months and stood below a key 2.0 percent mark for price stability for the second month running, preliminary data showed on Wednesday.
German inflation eased to 1.7 percent year-on-year in June from 1.9 percent in May, according to the data released by the Federal Statistics Office. Economists had expected an annual rise of 1.8 percent, according to the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of 32 economists.
The European Central Bank's target for price stability is close to but below 2 percent in the euro zone as a whole.
On a monthly basis, German consumer prices dipped by 0.1 percent in June compared to a drop of 0.2 percent in May. A Reuters poll of 29 economists had expected consumer prices to remain unchanged month-on month.
Consumer prices harmonized to compare with other euro zone countries showed a monthly fall of 0.2 percent and a year-on-year increase of 2 percent, compared with a monthly drop of 0.2 percent and an annual gain of 2.2 percent in May.
A Reuters poll of 22 economists had forecast this measure of inflation would slow to 2.1 percent on the year.
Germany's flash inflation estimate is based on data from six of the country's 16 states, which make up more than half the population.
Final German price data for June are due to be released on July 11, the office said.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin)