What Inflation?

Feb 2015

The rate of UK Consumer Prices Index inflation fell to 0.3% in January, its lowest level since records began.

Cheaper petrol and lower food prices - helped by a supermarket price war - cut the rate from 0.5% in December, Office for National Statistics figures show.

January's figure is the lowest rate of CPI inflation since estimates of the measure began in 1988.

The Bank of England said last week that inflation may temporarily turn negative in the spring.

 

Oil falls

Inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index fell to 1.1% from 1.6% the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said.

"Falling prices for motor fuels and food were the main contributors to the slowdown in the rate of inflation," it added.

ONS statistician Phil Gooding said average petrol prices had fallen on the month, as had prices for foodstuffs such as milk and fruit, while games, toys and hobbies had also become cheaper.

He added that a slowdown in the rate of price inflation for alcohol and some recreational goods and services had also contributed to the overall slowdown.

The ONS said that while the cost of food and fuel is lower than a year ago, prices for other items, such as clothing and furniture, are rising.

 

'Purchasing power'

A lower inflation rate was "excellent news for the consumer's purchasing power", said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist for IHS Global Insight.

"With inflation likely to fall further and earnings growth now finally trending upwards, consumers should see appreciable improvement in their purchasing power as 2015 progresses," he said.

However, he noted that core inflation, which strips out food, energy, alcohol and tobacco prices, rose to 1.4% in January from 1.3% the month before.