Consumer prices in the euro zone were flat in March year-on-year after having fallen by 0.2% in February, the European Union's statistics agency said today.

This marked an upward revision of its previous estimate of slight deflation last month. 

Eurostat said that the annual rate of inflation was 0% in March, compared with a previous flash estimate of -0.1%. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the latter. 

On a monthly basis, inflation rose 1.2%, in line with market expectations. 

The mildly positive news for the European Central Bank was compounded by a slight upward revision of what the ECB defines as core inflation, excluding energy and unprocessed food. 

Without these two volatile components, consumer prices rose in March 1% year-on-year. This was more than the 0.9% initially estimated by Eurostat, and an acceleration from 0.8% in February. 

The ECB is struggling to counter ultra-low inflation in the euro zone. 

Eurostat said that headline inflation was flat because the collapse of energy prices (-8.7% year-on-year) was offset by an increase of prices in all other components. 

Prices in the services sector, the largest in the euro zone, went up 1.4%, more than the 1.3% increase previously estimated by Eurostat. 

Prices of food, alcohol and tobacco also rose by 0.8% year-on-year, while inflation for non-energy industrial goods increased 0.5%. 

Eurostat detailed in a note that the largest upward impacts to euro area annual inflation in March came from restaurants and bars, package holidays and rent.