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Apr 11, 5:31 AM EDT

Spain's deflation not as great as first thought

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MADRID (AP) -- Spain's statistics office says prices were 0.1 percent lower in March than the year before, slightly less than the previous estimate of 0.2 percent.

The figures released Friday by the National Statistics Institute may ease concerns that the country will suffer a prolonged bout of deflation, or falling prices. Deflation can weigh on growth by prompting consumers to delay purchases and businesses to refrain from investing.

Though price pressures are muted across the 18-country eurozone, they are still rising, albeit at only 0.5 percent in the year to April.

The European Central Bank is keeping a close watch on developments and may enact further stimulus measures if deflation across the eurozone becomes a real probability. Its target is to have inflation just below 2 percent across the eurozone.

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