BEIJING (Reuters) - Euro zone inflation is unlikely to slow further and the current low level is not a major threat to economic recovery, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Thursday while in Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders.
Data released last week showed that inflation in the euro zone slowed to 0.8 percent year-on-year in December from 0.9 percent in November, taking the rate back toward October's 4-year low of 0.7 percent.
An inflation rate that is well below the European Central Bank's target of near, but under 2 percent carries longer term because it can deflate wages and demand, depressing the economy.
But, Dijsselbloem, who chairs the meetings of euro zone finance ministers, told reporters in Beijing that there was little danger of a downward spiral in prices.
"If you look at what we are doing in the euro zone with structural reforms, for example bringing down the costs in our economy, bringing down the costs of labour in a number of countries, the downward effect on inflation is quite normal," Dijsselbloem said.
"So there is no acute threat ... that it will go further," Dijsselbloem, who is the finance minister of the Netherlands, said.
Euro zone industrial production rose in November at its fastest pace in nearly four years, in an encouraging sign that the bloc's economic recovery strengthened in the final quarter of 2013.
Dijsselbloem was visiting China with Olli Rehn, the European commissioner in charge of economic and monetary affairs. They were expected to reassure Chinese leaders, including Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Vice Premier Ma Kai, that the euro zone recovery is on sound footing.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)