BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Tumbling oil prices helped inflation in the 15 nations that use the euro ease to a 14-month low of 2.1 percent in November, the EU statistics agency Eurostat confirmed Wednesday.
The sharp drop in inflation from 3.2 percent in October -- the preliminary estimate was released in late November -- gave the European Central Bank headroom to stoke growth by cutting interest rates from 3.25 percent to 2.5 percent earlier this month -- its biggest cut in ten years.
Inflation is now close to the bank's guideline of just under 2 percent and is well under that at 1.4 percent in the euro-zone's largest economy Germany, which is the lowest in the currency area, Eurostat said.
The figures showed that low inflation in large euro economies -- 1.9 percent in both France and the Netherlands -- masked rising prices in other states. Tiny Malta reported a 4.9 percent increase, Finland saw prices go up 3.5 percent and Belgium saw inflation of 3.2 percent.
A more detailed look at the November release showed prices were up since last November for natural gas used for heating homes, restaurants and cafes, and bread and cereals.
However, transport fuel and telecoms prices brought the overall rate down. The trading price for oil has dropped by more than half from a July record-high that forced euro inflation to an all-time peak of 4 percent in June and July.
Eurostat also reported a 4 percent drop in construction output in the euro area in October from a year ago. Spain saw the worst decrease, down 13.7 percent, as a housing market bubble bursts.
Building output was also down 3.8 percent in Germany and 6.1 percent in Britain, which is not part of the euro area.