Wiesbaden (AP) - The rise in consumer prices in Germany weakened in August. The annual inflation rate was 1.4 percent, as the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden reported on the basis of preliminary data.

In the months before June and July, the inflation rate had been 1.6 and 1.7 percent, respectively. In August, energy prices dampened only 0.6 percent. On the other hand, consumers had to pay considerably more than in the same month of the previous year (plus 2.7 percent).

Compared with the previous month, consumer prices fell by 0.2 percent, according to preliminary data.

The inflation rate is an important indicator of the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB). The central bank is aiming for a medium-term annual inflation rate of just under 2.0 percent for the eurozone - far enough away from the zero mark. Persistently low or broadly falling prices can lead companies and consumers to postpone investment. That slows down the economy.