Auto price war and falling airfares cool United Kingdom inflation

Falling air fares pulled down inflation

Falling air fares pulled down inflation

The ONS said house prices in April rose by an annual 1.4% across the United Kingdom as a whole compared with 1.6% in March.

The data is unlikely to bother the Bank of England at tomorrow's meeting and we expect the Bank to maintain guidance that limited interest rate rises are required over the forecast horizon. But while market expectations were met, other data sets suggest inflation pressures are growing.

"In the near term at least, an unsettled United Kingdom domestic political environment and a hard global economic environment reinforce the case for unchanged interest rates, while recent markedly oil prices are a benign development on the inflation front and increase scope for a cautious approach on monetary policy".

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The 2% inflation figure means that price growth is now exactly on the Bank of England's target, and comes a day before the central bank will announce its latest interest rates decision.

"With inflation relatively subdued, and against a backdrop of heightened political and economic uncertainty, the case for raising interest rates anytime soon remains weak, despite recent warnings by some Monetary Policy Committee members", the British Chambers of Commerce's head of economics, Suren Thiru, said.

Stable inflation, combined with the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years and rising wages, has taken the edge off the uncertainty about Brexit for many households whose spending drives the United Kingdom economy.

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Britain's modest rate of underlying inflation is also helping the Bank of England to hold off on fresh interest rate hikes while it waits for the outcome of the Brexit impasse.

Falling air fares and vehicle prices contributed to a modest fall in the rate of inflation in May, with the consumer price index hitting the Bank of England's 2% target. ECB President Mario Draghi on Tuesday raised the prospect of further monetary stimulus to end the persistent undershoot.

Auto prices, which fell by 0.3%, and a moderate 4.2p per litre growth in the cost of petrol also contributed some downward pressure, the ONS noted.

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United Kingdom manufacturers increased the prices they charged by 1.8% last month compared with 2.1% in April, broadly in line with the consensus forecast of 1.7% and similarly marking the lowest rate since September 2016. Prices in London alone fell 1.2%, the tenth consecutive fall.

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