Retail inflation hits 5-month high of 3.81% in March

Retail inflation hits 5-month high of 3.81% in March

Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: 'CPI inflation didn't rise further in March only because the Easter holidays-when transport prices spike-were in late March last year but are in April this year.

Non-food costs rose 2.3 percent year on year, with the rate 0.1 percentage points higher than a month earlier.

In terms of month-on-month data, Chinese inflation fell 0.3 per cent, as compared to the 0.2 per cent dip in February.

The number of people in work increased by 39,000 to 31.8 million people in the three months to February from the previous three months and was 312,000 higher than a year earlier.

Separate figures for the Producer Price Index (PPI) showed factory gate prices, the amount United Kingdom manufacturers charge for products, eased back to a 3.6% rise in March from 3.7% in February.

The cost of living remains above the Bank of England's two per cent target, putting pressure on the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to hike interest rates beyond 0.25 per cent this year. In 2016, air fares rose by 22% in March compared to a fall of 3.9% this year.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted March consumer inflation would edge up to 1.0 percent, but remain well within the central bank's comfort zone. China cut gasoline and diesel retail prices late last month by the most so far this year.

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Regardless of the breather in March, e xpectations remain that inflation will continue to jump sharply in the coming months as the effects of the weaker pound - which has fallen roughly 15% since the Brexit vote - trickle into the real economy, pushing up the price of goods. Clothing price tags rose last month.

Those are the lowest figures since 2014, says the BBC.

Sterling rose momentarily following the announcements before slipping back to a 0.1% drop against the USA dollar at 1.241, and a 0.1% fall versus the euro at 1.170.

Experts, including the Bank of England, reckon inflation could hit three per cent this year.

"Households are being caught in a flawless storm of rising inflation and slowing labour income growth", said Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Costs for health care, housing, transportation and communication all were seen rising. The U.K.'s economic growth relies heavily on domestic demand, which is likely to falter as Britons' wages struggle to keep up with price increases. Overall, the data will heighten fears that the living standards of British workers will fall this year, which will curb consumer spending.

'However, higher inflation, coupled with subdued earnings increases, means that the real growth rate in pay has tailed off to just above zero'.

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