m3n4.net January 23, 2019

High UK inflation piles on pressure to hike rates

14 February 2018, 06:03 | Vera Richards

Source Bloomberg

Source Bloomberg

Economists had on average expected it to fall back slightly to 2.9%.

While statistically correct, any "feel-good" factor will have been lost on most vehicle and van owners.

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. The two-year ahead measure, which is often considered the headline result, jumped from 2.02 percent last quarter to 2.11 percent this quarter. That's price inflation in a nutshell.

The ONS said that although petrol prices had risen by less than this time a year ago, the cost of entry to attractions such as zoos and gardens fell more slowly.

James Smith of ING bank doesn't expect this to continue.

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The rate of price rises had been widely expected to fall for a second month in a row but the Office for National Statistics said the figure was the same as in December. "The recent sterling strength will only accelerate this process".

As per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, food inflation saw a marginal decline to 4.70 percent in January from 4.96 percent in December past year.

"However, with mounting signs of economic growth slowing at the start of 2018, a May rate rise is by no means a done deal and will likely be dependent on the data flow improving in coming months".

That followed price rises hitting their highest since March 2012 in November at 3.1 per cent.

Has UK inflation peaked at 3%?

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. "Prices of fruits too rose at a slower pace of 6.24 per cent last month, as against 6.63 per cent recorded in the preceding month", it said. Further, a pick-up in global growth has the potential to exert more pressure on crude oil and commodity prices with implications for domestic inflation. If workers were becoming more productive, then companies could pay them more without increasing the cost of the services sold - their staff would be able to serve more customers over the same time period, spreading the cost across more sales.

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"Growth was reportedly curtailed by the loss of existing clients and lingering concerns surrounding the UK's exit from the European Union", said the IHS Markit study.

Inflation has now held above the BoE's crucial 2.0-percent target level for 12 successive months.

Inflation around 2 percent is still very low, but Wall Street traders fear that this could be the beginning of a quick run up in wages and prices.

Brettell says this must add weight for higher interest rates, sooner, not later.

The Bank of England monetary policy committee warned last week that, partly due to stronger worldwide economic demand, United Kingdom rates would have to rise sooner and to a "greater extent" than previously anticipated.

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