BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone inflation rose to an annual rate of 1.8 percent in January, the European Union statistics agency said on Wednesday confirming its earlier estimates.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices in the 19-country currency bloc went down by 0.8 percent, confirming market expectations.

Stripped of the volatile components of energy and unprocessed food, an indicator closely watched by the European Central Bank, the annual inflation rate in January was 0.9 percent, confirming Eurostat's earlier estimate and the market consensus.

The rise of annual inflation was mostly driven by energy prices which increased by 8.1 percent in January year-on-year, jumping from a 2.6 percent annualized increase in December.


(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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