United Kingdom inflation in focus as equities recovery continues

14 February, 2018, 18:43 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • United Kingdom inflation in focus as equities recovery continues

Yemi Kale, head of the NBS, last month said he expected the rate of inflation to fall faster this year compared with 2017, but activities leading up to presidential elections next year could stoke prices.

That sparked fears that inflation - and interest rates - are on the move higher, a trend shift that sparked the market turbulence that has ensued in recent weeks.

Economists were pencilling in a drop to 2.9%.

Core inflation - which strips out food and energy - was up 0.3% in January and has increased 1.8% over the last 12 months, still below the Federal Reserve's target of 2.0%.

The report noted that the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of imported food in general as well as bread and cereals, milk, cheese and eggs, vegetables, fish, coffee tea and cocoa, meat, potatoes yam and other tubers and oil and fats.

The two main US stock indexes endured wild swings last week on concerns that inflation would spur higher interest rates more quickly, boosting borrowing costs for companies.

"The BoE's rhetoric echoed that of September's meeting minutes, which preceded last November's rate hike, and it now looks like the next rise may well happen in May".

The Bank of England last week said the monetary policy would need to be tightened somewhat earlier and by a somewhat greater degree than anticipated.

ONS senior statistician James Tucker said: 'Headline inflation was unchanged with petrol prices rising by less than this time previous year.

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"However, the cost of entry to attractions such as zoos and gardens fell more slowly", he explained, as ticket prices tend to fall at the start of the year.

Higher inflation has been fuelled in part by the Brexit-induced collapse of the pound, which has made imports more expensive and driven up the cost of living, adding pressure on households squeezed by paltry wage growth.

At the pumps, petrol prices rose by 1.1p per litre on the month to 121p per litre, while diesel rose 1p to 124.5p per litre.

United Kingdom inflation remained stable in January as downward pressure from auto fuel and food prices was offset by upward effect from recreational and cultural goods.

Sterling rose 0.5% against the dollar to 1.39 United States dollars following the news. Prices were forecast to gain 4.1 percent.

Clothing prices helped to prop up the inflation figure despite having fallen 3.7% month on month, which marked a weaker drop compared to the 4.3% fall during the same period a year earlier.

India's industrial production growth declined again in December to 7.1% from a high of 8.8% in the previous month but the retail inflation bettered in January after a 17-month high in the previous month.

The Food Index stood at about 18.92 per cent (year-on-year) in January 2017, down from the rate recorded in December (19.42 percent).

While economists and investors have seen a Fed interest-rate hike in March as a near-certainty, the details of the latest CPI report could play a role in the timing and number of rate increases throughout 2018.

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