Euro zone annual inflation fell for the second month in a row to a four-year low in September, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat confirmed today, mainly as a result of a sharp drop in volatile energy prices. 

Eurostat said consumer inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro was up 0.1% month-on-month in September for a 0.3% year-on-year fall after a 0.2% annual price decline in August.

This was in line with initial estimates released at the start of October. 

Food, alcohol and tobacco added 0.34 percentage points to the final results, Eurostat said and services add another 0.24 points, but an 8.2% year-on-year plunge in energy prices subtracted 0.81 percentage point from the final number.

Without the volatile energy and unprocessed food prices, or what the European Central Bank calls core inflation, prices rose 0.1% month-on-month and 0.4% year-on-year.

An even narrower measure that also excludes alcohol and tobacco showed 0.2% rises both month-on-month and year-on-year.

The ECB wants to keep inflation below, but close to 2% over the medium term. 

Separately, Eurostat said the unadjusted trade surplus of the 19 countries sharing the euro was €14.7 billion, similar to the €14.4 billion a year earlier, and close to the €15.1 billion expected by economist polled by Reuters. 

Adjusted for seasonal swings, the trade surplus was €21.9 billion in August, up from 419.3 billion in July as exports rose 2% and imports edged up 0.5% on a monthly basis.