Consumer prices provisionally slipped 0.1 percent on the month in January. The fall was seasonally small and weak enough to lift the annual inflation rate from December's final 1.2 percent to 1.4 percent, equalling its highest reading since October 2012.
The flash HICP also fell 0.1 percent versus December and, as a result, saw its yearly rate climb a tidy 0.3 percentage points to 1.5 percent.
The acceleration in the annual CPI rate was mainly attributable to services where inflation moved up from 1.0 percent to 1.3 percent. However, manufacturing finally dragged itself out of deflation, posting a 0.1 percent rate, up from minus 0.1 percent last time. Energy (5.2 percent after 5.0 percent) also had a small positive effect but with food inflation (1.2 percent after 1.3 percent) slightly softer, the signs are that the core rate probably firmed somewhat.
The bounce in headline inflation at the start of the year comes as something of a surprise but offers hope that the improving real economy is starting to provide prices with a boost. It remains to be seen whether or not it can be sustained but the ECB for one will certainly be hoping so.