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

A Jobcentre Plus

Britain´s economy has won a lift with wage growth outpacing inflation for the first time in a year and the unemployment rate remaining at a 43-year low, data showed on Tuesday.

'Alcohol and tobacco also helped ease inflation pressures, with tobacco duty rises linked to the Budget not appearing this March, thanks to its new autumn billing.

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.

The consumer price inflation averaged to 2.9%, and is expected to slow to 2% in the year.

"This means that - somewhat counterintuitively - the fall in inflation might make it easier for the MPC to raise interest rates". Earlier, the pound touched its highest level against the dollar since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

Inflation in Britain unexpectedly fell in March, official figures showed Wednesday, suggesting that the Brexit vote's boost to prices is running its course and raising questions in financial markets as to whether the Bank of England will raise interest rates again this month.

Total UK unemployment
Inflation drops to 2.5% but households still 'squeezed'

After yesterday’s revelation the pay squeeze is officially over, a smaller rise in clothing and footwear prices providing further relief for cash-squeezed households.

Sterling fell after the data, but few economists thought the figures would stop the majority of Bank of England rate-setters from voting for an increase in rates to 0.75 percent next month. That figure, coupled with the inflation number, means that wages in the United Kingdom are growing in real terms for the first time since the beginning of 2017.

In his numerous addresses, President Peter Mutharika highlights the single-digit inflation rate among his administration's achievements in terms of economic management. This was the weakest rate since March 2017, when prices gained 2.3 percent.

However, the cost of oil and fats surged 6.7 per cent in March, past the 2.8 per cent rise previous year, with margarine applying notable upward pressure.

He said the recent rally in the pound has been a relief for Irish exporters, but whether that relief will be short-lived remains to be seen.

The Bank of England has hinted that it could increase its main interest rate by a quarter-point to 0.75 percent at its next policy meeting on May 10.

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