Inflation in Europe sags amid outbreak, oil price decline

US & World

A woman walks over a bridge with the European Central Bank in background in Frankfurt, Germany, as the sun rises Monday, March 30, 2020. Due to the coronavirus the economy expects heavy losses. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro currency sagged to 0.7% in March from 1.2% February as the virus outbreak and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia rippled through the economy.

A key factor in the officials figures published Tuesday was volatile energy prices, which plunged 4.3% from the previous month.

A decline in oil prices since the start of the year has been accelerated by Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase production and preserve market share after Russia balked at joining in common cuts among members of the OPEC oil cartel and allied producing countries.

The virus outbreak has led to a wide-ranging decline in economic activity as a wave of business closures and social distancing measures swept over Europe.

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