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16/02/2011 | UK Inflation Surges to 4%, Highest Since Nov. 2008

Reuters Staff

British consumer price inflation surged to double the Bank of England's target in January, official data showed on Tuesday, raising pressure on the central bank to look seriously at increasing interest rates.

 

The Office for National Statistics said that the rate of consumer price inflation rose to 4.0 percent in January, in line with economists' forecasts, from 3.7 percent in December.

The rise, which was driven by higher oil pricesand increased indirect taxation, means inflation has been at least a percentage point above the BoE's 2 percent target for more than a year.

BoE Governor Mervyn King will have to publish a letter to finance minister George Osborne later on Tuesday explaining why inflation remains so high.

Previously King has blamed above-target inflation on a succession of one-off factors, including rises in value-added tax, the depreciation of sterling and spikes in commodity prices.

Economists expect the BoE to raise interest rates from their record low of 0.5 percent later this year, and investors are betting a rise will come by May.

The BoE will publish a new set of growth and inflation forecasts on Wednesday.

On the month, CPI rose by 0.1 percent, the first time it has risen between December and January on record.

CPI typically falls in January due to post-Christmas discounting.

The retail price inflation gauge, which includes more housing costs and is the benchmark for many wage deals rose to 5.1 percent, its highest since May 2010.


CNBC News (Estados Unidos)

 


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