United Kingdom inflation highest since June 2014

Consumer prices hit their highest level in two and a half years in January, with rising fuel costs pushing inflation higher. Consumer Price Index-based inflation was at 3.41 per cent in December 2016 and at 5.69 per cent in January 2016.

Retail inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) slumped to a series low of 3.17 per cent in January, mainly due to fall in food prices, especially those of vegetables and pulses. Over the past 12 months wholesale costs have risen 1.6%, but as recently as one year ago they were basically negative.

An increase in global crude prices lifted prices in oil and natural gas exploitation, which contributed to the expansion, NBS analyst Sheng Guoqing said in a statement.

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The ONS pointed to further inflationary pressures in the pipeline with the cost of raw materials and goods being produced by factories going up.

The rise compared with a 3.89 percent annual gain forecast by economists in a Reuters poll and was faster than a provisional 3.39 percent jump in December. 'By the end of the year price inflation looks set to outstrip wage growth, which will squeeze household budgets in the short term'. "We also need to see a further reduction in the lending rates by banks and we hope that RBI's guidance on this to the banks will be followed up in the form of further reduction in rates for companies", said Pankaj Patel, President, FICCI.

The minerals segment, however, saw the rate of inflation nearly doubling in January to 25.4% from 12.9% in December.

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Following the European Union referendum the value of sterling plummeted. Production firms are still absorbing some costs, but it will ultimately feed through to consumer prices, according to Capital Economics. It is then expected to fall back to 2.4% in three years' time, before returning close to the target over the subsequent year.

Boston had the highest annual rate of price increase in the country.

The pound's fall - it is down about 17 percent against the USA dollar and 11 percent against the euro since the June 2016 referendum - is starting to hit the spending power of consumers, who have helped the British economy to grow since the vote.

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The recent uptick in wholesale prices, just like the big decline in 2015, has been exaggerated by a rebound in the cost of oil.