(Bloomberg) -- Inflation in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia fell to 4.2% on the year in September from 5.9% in August, indicating a national figure roughly in line with forecasts. 

A slowdown in inflation would be good news for ECB officials, who warned earlier that uncertainty remains and that further rate hikes could therefore not be excluded. Consumer prices posted a monthly increase of 0.2%, according to the state statistics office in Dusseldorf.

This compares to a forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 24 economists that sees national inflation falling to 4.6% on the year in September from 6.1% in August, while prices are predicted to rise 0.3% on the month.

Consumer prices excluding food and energy declined for the third month in a row to 4.4% in September from 5.3% last month. A slowdown in key underlying measures of consumer-price growth has already been witnessed in several EU countries and in the US, possibly indicating an end to both central banks’ tightening cycle.

North Rhine-Westphalia is the first German state to report September inflation readings and can often be a signal of the trend in the overall figure, which the German statistics office will release later today.

September price rises were driven by monthly increases in the clothing and shoes, household energy and education categories, offset somewhat by lower prices for leisure and entertainment and for alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

NOTE: Figures are not seasonally adjusted.

SOURCE: Landesamt fuer Datenverarbeitung und Statistik Nordrhein-Westfalen

(Updates with additional context.)

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