Tuesday, March 20, 2007

UK inflation rate rises to 4.6%

Inflation in the UK accelerated in February, raising the possibility of further interest rate rises.
On the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure, inflation in February was 2.8%, up from 2.7% the month before.
The figure - pushed up by increases in air passenger duty and thus air fares - remains well above the Bank of England's 2.0% target for the CPI.
There was a bigger rise in the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which rose to 4.6% from January's figure of 4.2%.
"Today's figures are a timely reminder that the Bank of England's tightening work is probably not yet finished," said Rob Carnell, economist at ING.
Cheaper computer games
The Office for National Statistics, which compiles the figures, says the rising transport costs were partially offset by falling petrol prices.
Other downward effects included falling prices for computer games, which were rising in February 2006.
The main upward effect on the RPI was the housing costs that are excluded from the CPI.
The RPI includes mortgage interest payments, and is used in many wage negotiations.
February's figure is the highest RPI since August 1991, although there has been little sign of inflation in pay deals so far.
If the CPI goes above 3%, Bank of England governor Mervyn King has to write a letter to the government explaining why it has happened.

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