Inflation in the euro zone softened in June, the European Union's statistics office confirmed today, as energy costs weakened and price rises of food and services eased after a spike in May. 

Eurostat said consumer prices in the euro zone were unchanged month-on-month in June for a 0.2% year-on-year reading, confirming its earlier estimate.

Inflation in May had stood at 0.3%. 

Eurostat said that in June more expensive prices in restaurants and cafes, tobacco and rents had the biggest upward impact on the overall year-on-year inflation value, while cheaper gas, heating oil and automotive fuel pulled the index down. 

Energy costs in the euro zone as a whole were down 5.1% compared to a 4.8% drop in May. 

Excluding the most volatile components of unprocessed food and energy - what the European Central Bank calls core inflation - prices were flat month-on-month for a 0.8% year-on-year increase. This compared to 0.9% rise in May. 

Under its money-printing quantitative easing scheme, the ECB is buying government bonds and other assets to pump around €1 trillion into the economy, aiming to lift inflation towards its target rate of just under 2%. 

The ECB expects euro zone inflation to rise to 1.5% in 2016 and 1.8%, about at its target, in 2017.