Inflation falls to 2.7%: ONS

21 March, 2018, 08:19 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • British Pound Today: UK Inflation Data and Bank of England in Focus for Sterling

"12-month rate was 2.7 per cent in February 2018, down from 3.0 per cent in January 2018", the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

United Kingdom inflation fell to 2.7 per cent in February, slowing more than expected and relieving some of the pressure on the Bank of England (BoE) to hike interest rates.

Investors saw the softening of inflation as unlikely to challenge the BoE's message from last month that interest rates will probably need to rise more quickly than it had previously thought.

Inflation in Germany and France has been running at less than half the British rate. However, solid economic data and the risks around Sterling depreciating further, especially as we move closer to the realities of implementing Brexit, are likely to see Mark Carney and the fellow members remain poised to raise rates again in the near future'.

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Economists and the Bank believe inflation's upward march has run its course and will start to unwind over the coming months. Higher interest rates achieve that by providing greater scope for rates cuts, and hence monetary stimulus if needed.

The ONS figures published on Tuesday suggested less pressure in the pipeline for consumer prices.

However, there are signs that Britain's inflation surge has peaked after hitting its highest level in more than five years in November when prices rose by 3.1 percent.

Sterling's slide since the Brexit vote has ratcheted up the pressure on household spending power, climbing from 0.6% shortly after the European Union referendum result to a near six-year high of 3.1% in November 2017.

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Phil Gooding, ONS statistician, said: "A small fall in petrol prices alongside food prices rising more slowly than past year helped pull down inflation, as numerous early 2017 price increases due to the previous depreciation of the pound have started to work through the system".

Month-on-month, consumer prices increased 0.8 percent in February, slightly slower than the expected 0.9 percent.

The largest downward contribution was transport and food prices, which rose by less than a year ago while prices for accommodation also dropped.

Despite the fall in inflation, many households are still feeling pressure in their budgets. The economists expect the data to show acceleration of growth to an annual rate of 2.6% in the three months to the end of January. It is widely expected to say on Thursday that it will keep rates on hold for now, and stick with a plan to raise borrowing costs only gradually.

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