Thursday, 17 October, 2019

United Kingdom inflation falls to 2.5%, its lowest level for a year

Wage growth has accelerated to a near three year high amid hopes a long squeeze on pay is finally coming to an end Wage growth has accelerated to a near three year high amid hopes a long squeeze on pay is finally coming to an end
Russell Knight | 19 April, 2018, 04:42

The fall comes as prices for clothing and footwear have risen less than they did past year, with the effect primarily coming from a range of items in women's clothing.

Thomas Wells, manager of the Smith & Williamson Global Inflation Linked Bond fund, said: "UK inflation has eased from the high levels seen in Q4, and we expect headline inflation to moderate further in the second half of the year, slowly moving back towards target although the actual glide path from here will depend on what the Bank of England does with the bank rate".

It fell from 2.7% in February after prices for women's clothing rose at a slower pace than a year ago.

It is the first time wages have been rising faster than prices since January 2017. December short sterling interest rate futures FSSZ8 rose 4 ticks on the day to a four-week high. The CPIH rate of inflation fell to 2.3% in March from 2.5% the month before.

Wednesday's official data showed annual consumer price inflation fell to 2.5 percent in March, down from 2.7 percent in February and below economists' expectations.

The British currency GBP=D3 slid 0.8 percent to $1.4173 in London trading, its lowest since last Thursday and a striking reversal from Tuesday climb to $1.4377, its strongest since the Brexit referendum.

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Price movements for alcohol and tobacco have also contributed to the fall, which the ONS said "in part reflects changes to the Budget cycle that were introduced in 2017, with tax changes for tobacco being announced in November 2017 instead of March 2018".

"Growth in the price of goods leaving factories continued to slow, due mainly to a smaller increase in the price of food products compared with this time previous year".

This is good news for our pockets: yesterday we found out that the average wage across the United Kingdom had risen 2.8 per cent, and when the inflation rate is lower than the rate wages are rising, that's nice for us because we can buy more for our money - what's called a boost to "real wages".

The latest United Kingdom inflation data is unlikely to get in the way of a May rate hike, but a further deceleration in core CPI over coming months could prove to be a headache for policymakers later in the year, James Smith, an ING economist, said.

Opinion was divided over what effect the more sluggish than expected earnings growth and lower than expected inflation figure would have on interest rates when the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee next meets on 10 May. Remember the Bank of England is targeting inflation in two years' time, not today. Diesel also fell 1.5p to 122.9p.

He said while the inflation figures were certainly "food for thought" for the MPC he still predicted a rate hike next month.

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