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UK inflation rises to highest in a year

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London - UK inflation climbed to its highest in a year in January, driven by motor fuels, food and clothing.

Consumer prices rose an annual 0.3% following a 0.2% gain in December, in line with the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, slowed to 1.2% from 1.4%, the figures from the Office for National Statistics in London show.

Inflation remains well below the Bank of England’s 2% target. With oil prices remaining near a 12-year low and pay pressures weakening, officials say that the economy doesn’t yet warrant a rate increase from a record-low 0.5%.

Central to the outlook for rates is pay growth, which has come off the boil in recent months despite unemployment reaching a decade low. The statistics office will report data on jobs and wages on Wednesday.

The main driver behind the pickup in inflation last month was motor fuel, which fell less than a year earlier. These pressures were partially offset by air fares, which fell more than they did a year ago following an upward surge in December.

In their February inflation report, BOE officials said they see inflation at 1.2% in the first quarter of next year, down from a projection of 1.5% in November.

On the month, consumer prices fell 0.8%, with core prices declining 1%. Separate figures show producer prices falling 0.1% in January as input costs declined 0.7%. House-price growth slowed to 6.7% in December. For 2015 as a whole, house prices rose 6.7%.

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