Prices in the countries that use the euro rose 2.4 percent in the year through March, coming closer to the European Central Bank’s 2 percent inflation target.

The annual inflation rate across most economies in Europe eased for the third month in a row, nearing the target set by the European Central Bank. Consumer prices in the 20 countries that use the euro rose 2.4 percent in the year through March, down from 2.6 percent the month before, the European Union reported on Wednesday.

The rate was slightly lower than economists expected and brought overall inflation closer to the 2 percent target set by the E.C.B., which will hold its next meeting to set interest rates on April 11.

The central bank also keeps a close eye on core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices. That dipped to 2.9 percent in the year through March in the eurozone, ticking below

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