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UK inflation rises to 10.4% as food prices soar

UK inflation rises to 10.4% as food prices soar


London CNN —

Consumer prices in the UK in February jumped 10.4 per cent from a year ago as food inflation hit its highest level in more than 45 years and the cost of visiting restaurants and hotels rose, official data showed on Wednesday.

Food prices soared 18.2% in the year leading up to February, the sharpest rise since the late 1970s. The National Statistical Office said some salad and vegetable items had particularly increased, partly due to shortages, which led to rationing in supermarkets.

The stunning rise in inflation in February comes after months of deceleration after the pace of price growth reached 11.1%, a 41-year high in October.

The latest figures could make the Bank of England more likely to raise rates again at its meeting on Thursday.

“The latest disruption in the banking sector is expected to dampen economic activity, but with tightening lending standards dampening inflation, the Bank of England will want to see hard evidence of this before it halts raising rates,” said Governor Paul Dales. said. British economist at Capital Economics.

While still a very close decision, these figures give a little more confidence to our prediction that the bank will raise rates from 4% to 4.25% tomorrow.

But Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macro Economics, said food inflation and catering services inflation accounted for all of the rise in headline rates, both of which are linked to soaring fresh food prices due to poor harvests. said there is.

This boost will be released over the next few months, he said on Twitter. It makes no sense to raise rates to respond to weather-related food price spikes.

Shortages of some fruits and vegetables in the UK could persist into May, one of Britain’s biggest food producer groups told CNN last month.

Supermarkets and the British government cited poor weather in Spain and Morocco, major exporters, as the main cause. But farmers also blamed exorbitant energy costs, Brexit-related labor shortages and trade barriers.

Core inflation, excluding unstable food and energy costs, also rose to 6.2% in February from 5.8% in January. Nonetheless, core inflation is below the rate recorded at the end of last year.

The data not only complicates the central bank’s decision on whether to raise interest rates for the 11th consecutive time on Thursday. It will also make it harder for the government to deliver on its promise in early January to cut inflation in half this year. Inflation recorded 10.5% in December.

And Brits are still getting poorer. Wages rose 6.5% in January compared to the previous year, well below inflation for both that month and February.




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