Eurozone inflation drops, underlining case for stimulus

Inflation in the 19-country eurozone weakened in September, underlining European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's arguments for a recent stimulus package

BRUSSELS -- Inflation in the 19-country eurozone weakened in September, slipping farther from the European Central Bank's goal and underlining President Mario Draghi's arguments for a recent stimulus package.

Statistics agency Eurostat said Tuesday that the annual inflation rate eased to 0.9% in September from 1.0% in August.

Low inflation can be a sign of economic weakness and has been a concern for officials at the ECB, whose goal is to have inflation of just under 2%. The central bank, which sets monetary policy for the euro countries, decided Sept. 12 to launch a package of measures aimed at raising inflation and supporting weakening growth.

The measures include cutting a key interest rate benchmark to minus 0.5% from minus 0.4% and starting to buy 20 billion euros ($22 billion) a month in government and corporate bonds, a move that pumps newly created money into the economy. The steps aim to make credit cheaper for businesses and stimulate economic activity while raising inflation.