(Bloomberg) -- Inflation expectations of consumers in the euro area fell in February, according to the European Central Bank — reinforcing hopes that price growth will decrease further in the coming months.

Prices are seen rising 3.1% over the next 12 months — down from 3.3% in January, the ECB said Tuesday. That’s the lowest level since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, it said.

For three years ahead they’re expected to advance by 2.5%, unchanged from the previous month.

The survey comes as policymakers prepare to start lowering their deposit rate from its record high of 4%, probably in June, by which point they hope to have more confidence that inflation is safely on its way back to 2%.

More clarity will emerge when officials in Frankfurt meet to set policy next week. In the meantime, Eurostat will on Wednesday report consumer-price growth for March for the 20-nation euro zone, with analysts polled by Bloomberg anticipating further moderation, to 2.5%. Last week, price data from France and Italy came in below expectations.

The ECB’s poll showed little optimism among consumers on the economy, where they foresee a 1.1% contraction over the next 12 months — unchanged from the month before.

The survey also showed:

  • Expectations for the unemployment rate 12 months ahead remained unchanged at 10.9%
  • Nominal incomes are seen growing by 1.4% — up from 1.2% in January
  • Consumers expect the price of their home to rise by 2.4% — up from 2.2% in January
  • Expectations for mortgage interest rates remained unchanged at 5.1%

--With assistance from Barbara Sladkowska.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.