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Euro-zone Feb. annual inflation confirmed at 2.4% *PIC*

Euro-zone Feb. annual inflation confirmed at 2.4% ( EURUSD ) (by William L. Watts)

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Consumer prices in the euro zone saw a 0.4% monthly rise in February, pushing the annual rate to 2.4% from 2.3% in January, the European Union statistics agency Eurostat reported Wednesday. The annual inflation rise, which matched a preliminary Eurostat estimate, was the largest since October 2008. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet earlier this month signaled that the central bank could hike official interest rates as early as next month in an effort to prevent commodity-fueled price rises from contributing to longer-term inflation pressures. The ECB's inflation target is near but just below 2%. The euro (cur_eurusd) hovered near its session low versus the dollar to change hands at $1.3946, a loss of 0.2% from Tuesday.