French consumer prices rose by a smaller than expected 2.4% year-on-year in March, preliminary data from statistics agency INSEE showed on Friday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had on average expected a preliminary EU-harmonised inflation figure of 2.8%.

Inflation eased from the 3.2% recorded for February, due to a slowdown in the prices of food, services, tobacco, energy and manufactured goods, INSEE said.

Inflation calculated according to French standards also slowed more than expected to 2.3% in March, from 3% in February and compared with expectations of 2.6%.

Month-on-month consumer price inflation eased to 0.2% from 0.9% in February, according to the preliminary data, with INSEE attributing the slowdown to a slight drop in energy prices, particularly for gas and petroleum products.

Conversely, prices of manufactured goods are expected to have accelerated due to the seasonal rise in clothing prices after the winter sales, INSEE said. (Reporting by Augustin Turpin and Dagmarah Mackoś; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)