Euro zone inflation accelerated as expected in April because of a sharp rise in the costs of energy and services, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said today.

Eurostat said consumer prices in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.6% month-on-month for a 1.6% year-on-year increase, up from 1.3% year-on-year in March.

The European Central Bank wants to see inflation even closer to 2% over the medium term but has warned that the faster growth is mainly due to comparison effects with very low energy prices a year earlier.

Prices of energy, such as oil and gas, rose 10.4 year-on-year in April, adding 0.96 percentage point to the final inflation figure.

On the other hand, costs of unprocessed food, another volatile component, fell 0.3% year-on-year in April.

Without these two sharply changing factors, or what the ECB calls core inflation, prices went up 0.5% in the month and 0.8% from a year earlier, slowing from the 1% annual growth in March.

But prices of services, which account for almost two thirds of euro zone gross domestic product, went up 0.9% year-on-year in April.

This added 0.37 percentage point to the final inflation number, continuing a strong trend since the start of the year.