UK Inflation Rate Falls by Fraction of Percent — But Food Prices Soar

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Shoppers buy food in a supermarket in LondonInternationalIndiaAfricaJames TweedieRising inflation across the West since the COVID-19 pandemic has spiked since governments imposed sanctions and trade embargoes on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine. That has sparked waves of strikes over below-inflation pay offers across the UK. Inflation in the UK fell less than forecast in March, while the rise in food prices accelerated to a 46-year high.The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate dropped from 10.4 percent in February to 10.1 percent in March — confounding economists predictions that it would fall to 9.8 percent.But food and non-alcoholic drink price inflation hit 19.1 percent, the highest since August 1977.The statistics agency blamed the rise on high commodity and production costs — both of which are linked to sanctions and embargoes on Russian fuel, grain and fertiliser exports. “The main drivers of the decline were motor fuel prices and heating oil costs, both of which fell after sharp rises at the same time last year,” said ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner. “Clothing, furniture and household goods prices increased, but more slowly than a year ago.”However, these were partially offset by the cost of food, which is still climbing steeply, with bread and cereal price inflation at a record high,” Fitzner stressed. “The overall costs facing business have been largely stable since last summer, although prices remain high.”EconomyNorway Braces for Mass Wage Strike Amid Near-Record Inflation17 April, 05:20 GMTChancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt insisted the inflation statistics proved his policies were necessary.”These figures reaffirm exactly why we must continue with our efforts to drive down inflation so we can ease pressure on families and businesses,” Hunt said, highlighting his March budget U-turn on cutting energy bill subsidies to households and businesses.


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