LONDON (AP) — Official figures show that falling oil prices reduced inflation in the 19-country eurozone in December to its lowest in eight months.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said consumer prices were up 1.6 percent in the year to December, down from the previous month’s 1.9 percent and the lowest since April. Analysts had expected a decline to 1.8 percent.

Lower energy prices were behind the decline. Over the year, they rose 5.5 percent against the 9.1 percent recorded in November.

Stripping out potentially volatile items such as energy, core inflation was steady at 1 percent.

The fall in the headline inflation rate will likely rein in expectations that the European Central Bank will raise interest rates soon. The ECB aims for an inflation rate of just below 2 percent.