BRUSSELS, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Annual inflation in the European Union (EU) stood at 1.7 percent in March, up from 1.3 percent in February, the bloc's statistical office said on Friday.
The figure for the same month last year was 1.2 percent, according to Eurostat.
The euro area annual inflation rate was 1.3 percent in March, up from 0.9 percent of the previous month and from 0.7 percent in March 2020.
In March, services contributed the most to the annual euro area inflation rate, followed by energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, and non-energy industrial goods.
Compared with February, annual inflation fell in three EU member states, remained stable in three, and rose in 21 countries.
The countries with the lowest inflation rates were Greece (-2.0 percent), Portugal, Malta, Ireland, and Slovenia, all at 0.1 percent.
On the contrary, the highest annual rates were registered in Poland (4.4 percent), Hungary (3.9 percent), Romania and Luxembourg (2.5 percent), according to the data.
The EU's Winter 2021 Economic Forecast had predicted that the inflation would be temporarily pushed up by positive base effects in energy inflation, tax adjustments -- especially in Germany -- and the impact of pent-up demand hitting some remaining supply constraints.
The bloc's economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 containment measures in place, and growth was set to resume in the spring of 2021 and gather momentum in the summer as vaccination programs progress and restriction measures gradually ease, according to the winter forecast.