Euro zone headline inflation hit its highest level in four months in August, official data showed today, confirming the European Union statistics office's earlier flash estimate. 

Eurostat said consumer prices in the euro zone rose in August by 1.5% year-on-year and by 0.3% on the month, in line with the average forecast of economists polled by Reuters.

Inflation remained below the European Central Bank's target of near 2%, but picked up from 1.3% in July. 

Excluding the volatile components of unprocessed food and energy, an indicator closely watched by the ECB for its monetary decisions, the rate was 1.3% on the year. 

This matched a previous estimate released by Eurostat at the end of August, but was slightly above market expectations of a 1.2% reading. 

Energy prices went up by 4% on the year and 0.7% month-on-month, the highest increases among the components of the indicator. 

Prices in the services sector, the largest in the euro zone economy, were 1.6% higher in August on the year, the same rate as in June and July. Inflation was at 1.4% for food, alcohol and tobacco.