The rate of inflation in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, inched higher again in December and averaged 1.5 percent for the whole of 2013, initial official data showed on Monday. For December alone, the cost of living rose by 1.4 percent on a 12-month basis, compared with 1.3 percent in November, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. That meant the annual average rate stood at 1.5 percent for the whole of 2013, down from 2.0 percent in 2012, the statisticians calculated. Using the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), the European Central Bank's inflation yardstick, inflationary pressures in Germany slowed sharply on an annual average basis to 1.6 percent in 2013 from 2.1 percent in 2012. The ECB defines price stability as increases in harmonised index of close to but just below 2.0 percent. The preliminary data are calculated on the basis of cost-of-living statistics from six so-called indicator states. Final data for both December and 2013 as a whole and based on consumer price inflation in all 16 of Germany's regional states are scheduled to be published on January 16.