UK inflation rate accelerates on fuel, transport, games

UK inflation accelerated for the first time in eight months in July, boosted by the cost of auto fuel, transport tickets, computer games and food.

Annual consumer-price growth quickened to 2.5% from 2.4% in June, as economists forecast, figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday show.

The Bank of England had predicted inflation would pick up to 2.6% in July before resuming its downward path as the effect of sterling’s post-Brexit referendum decline fades.

Officials raised interest rates this month to tame price pressures in the labour market and indicated further hikes will be needed to return inflation to the 2% target, providing Britain avoids a chaotic Brexit.

Upward pressures on inflation were offset by some financial services and clothing and footwear prices, which fell 3.7% on the month as struggling retailers extended summer discounts. The drop in women’s clothing prices was particularly marked.

Core inflation, which excludes food, energy, tobacco and alcoholic drinks, stayed at 1.9%. The pound was 0.2% weaker at $1.2700 as of 10:39.

Rail fares

July’s retail-price inflation rate, which is used by rail carriers to set fare increases, slowed to 3.2%. There is pressure to link rail fares to the lower CPI rate to ease the strain on consumers whose basic wages are barely growing faster than prices.

Producer input prices rose 0.5%, taking the annual rate of increase to 10.9% with oil accounting for much of the gain. Factories, however, have chosen to absorb the pressure rather than pass it on to consumers with output prices rising just 3.1%.

House prices rose an annual 3% in June, the least since August 2013. The worst-performing region was London, where prices dropped 0.7% - the most since 2009 - as Brexit fears and stretched affordability sapped demand.   

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