ECB misses inflation target

The European Central Bank failed to hit its inflation target for the sixth year running last year, according to figures from Eurostat.

The inflation rate dropped to an annual rate of 2.2 per cent last month, from 2.3 per cent in November, according to a "flash" estimate yesterday by Eurostat, the European Union's statistical office.

Eurostat has not yet released an official figure for the 2005 rate, but it is expected by analysts to be 2.2 per cent, after 2.1 per cent in 2004. This year, the

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