Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Editor's Take | CPI inflation eases to 2.05%

CPI Inflation Eases Further To 2% On Falling Food Prices Retail inflation eases to 2.05% in January
Laurie Berry | 14 February, 2019, 08:15

The rate was down from 2.1pc in December and is the first time inflation has been below the Bank's 2pc target since January 2017.

The main driver for inflation was the new energy price cap on standard variable tariffs recently introduced by energy watchdog Ofgem.

Economists in a Reuters poll predicted retail inflation would edge up to 2.48 percent in January from the downward revised December figure of 2.11 percent. City economists think so.

Mike Hardie, head of inflation at the ONS, said: 'The fall in inflation is due mainly to cheaper gas, electricity and petrol, partly offset by rising ferry ticket prices and air fares falling more slowly than this time previous year. In rural areas, food prices fell 2.80% and in urban areas, it fell by 0.96%.

While Ben Brettell, senior economist at online brokerage Hargreaves Lansdown, said the inflation data is not going to change the Bank's thinking about the economy or interest rates.

The Bank of England said this month that United Kingdom economic growth will likely slow further in 2019 given weakening demand from overseas and a period of increased "Brexit uncertainty" that are expected to reduce activity in the UK. Consumer inflation in December was revised downwards to 2.11 per cent from 2.19 per cent, according to the official statement.

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However, he added: "If there is a no-deal United Kingdom exit from the European Union at the end of March, the inflation outlook will be clouded by a number of factors - most notably what happens to sterling, how well the economy holds up and what tariffs come into effect".

That difference is now negligible, helping the Bank of England as it holds off on fresh interest rate hikes pending the outcome of Britain's Brexit stand-off with the rest of the EU.

However, it was widely reported on Tuesday that the PM simply intends to offer MPs a second vote in late February where the choice is between approving the Withdrawal Agreement and a lengthy delay to the UK's departure from the bloc.

United Kingdom inflation rose from 0.5% in June 2016 to 3.1% by November 2017 and core inflation increased from 1.4% to a peak of 2.7%.

Time to move your money? A specialist broker can deliver you an exchange rate closer to the real market rate, thereby saving you substantial quantities of currency.

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