Steady UK Inflation, Falling Core Figure Dull Outlook For August Rate Hike


Falling prices for clothing and games toys and hobbies provided the largest downward effects on inflation

But last week one of his deputies, Jon Cunliffe, who opposed November´s rate rise, said pay growth did not seem to be breaking out of its recent 2.5-3.0 percent range and heading towards the 3 percent growth rate that the BoE predicts for the end of the year.

The data from the Office for National Statistics showed that clothing and footwear prices fell by 2.1 percent between May and June, the biggest decline for the month since 2012.

While rising petrol and energy prices were indeed the largest factor sustaining the pace of price rises, it did not prove enough to increase inflation. Upward pressure also came from electricity and gas prices after suppliers including British Gas, EDF and Scottish Power increased their tariffs in response to higher wholesales costs.

The surprise figures knocked the pound to its lowest level against the United States dollar since September, as traders considered whether it would cause a pause among the Bank of England's rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who are expected to consider raising interest rates from 0.5% to 0.75%.

Mike Hardie, ONS head of inflation, said: 'Consumers have been feeling the benefit of the summer clothing sales, and computer game prices have also fallen.

Between May and June 2017, clothing prices fell 1.1%. "Now it looks odds-on that (policymakers) will hold fire yet again", said Tom Stevenson, investment director at Fidelity International, an investment management firm.

Wage inflation figures were also released this week showing average weekly wages grew by 2.5 per cent on the year over the past three months. "The Bank will be mindful of Brexit-related uncertainty, and may decide to wait for confirmation that the weak first-quarter growth figure was just a blip before raising borrowing costs". In May 2018, the inflation rate stood was 1.60%.

"We still expect the Bank of England (BoE) to hike interest rates next month, but today's report does little to suggest that there should be any change to the BoE's rhetoric, added Lloyds Bank".

'August's expected rate hike is, therefore, even less of a dead cert than it was before today's surprise inflation print.

The inflation data were significantly below economists' expectations of 2.6 per cent, with deflation in clothes and games, toys and hobbies pulling back the overall level.

Separate figures showed producer input prices rose 10.2 percent in June from a year earlier, driven by oil.

Meanwhile, retail inflation, which the RBI takes into account while formulating its monetary policy, had touched a 5-month high of 5 per cent in June.

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