Annual inflation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) area remained stable in April at 2.1%, although food and fuel prices rose.
Consumer prices in the OECD area rose 2.1% in the year to April, a figure unchanged from March. Energy and food prices rose at a slightly higher rate in April than the previous month, with energy up from 11.3% to 12.2% and food rising from 0.2% to 0.7%.
However, excluding these two categories, consumer prices increased by just 1.2% in April, the lowest rate on record.
Deflation continued in Japan, which saw consumer prices fall 1.2% in the year to April after a 1.1% fall in the year to March. Inflation slowed slightly in Germany, from 1.1% to 1%, and from 2.3% to 2.2% in the US.
Annual inflation in the UK rose from 3.4% to 3.7%, and 0.1 percentage points in both France and Italy, to 1.7% and 1.5% respectively.
Euro area annual inflation was 1.5% in April compared with 1.4% in March. Energy prices have been pushing up inflation. An estimate of the May figures, released by Eurostat, suggests inflation rose to 1.6% last month, a 17-month high.
Commenting on the European figures, Howard Archer, the chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, says the numbers will not cause the European Central Bank much concern.
"Inflation is currently being pushed up by higher energy prices and, to a lesser extent, a modest uptick in food prices, while underlying inflationary pressures remain muted in the face of large output gaps across the region and only gradual recovery," he says.
"Given that oil prices bottomed out in the first quarter of 2009, the upward impact on inflation from unfavourable energy base effects should now be nearing an end."
Relative to the previous month, consumer prices in the OECD area increased by 0.2% in April, compared with 0.5% in March. They rose by 0.6% in the United Kingdom, 0.4% in Italy, 0.3% in France and Canada, 0.2% in the United States, and remained stable in Japan, but decreased 0.1% in Germany.
Meanwhile, GDP in the OECD area rose 0.7% in the first quarter, making it the fourth consecutive quarter of growth. GDP growth was more subdued in the European Union than the US, at 0.2% and 0.8% respectively.
Japan saw its GDP growth Italy returned to positive growth of 0.5% over the period, following a small decline in Q4 last year.
The pace of recovery eased in both France and the UK and remained unchanged in Germany.
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