China's Annual Inflation Measures Little Changed in March

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that United Kingdom house prices rose by 5.8 per cent in the year to February but prices in London are seeing the slowest increase in five years.

The foundation projects real pay growth is expected to have fallen to around 0.1% in the three months to February, despite the inflation figure holding at 2.3%.

"While food price inflation rose, from 0.3 percent to 1.6 percent, this was offset by a fall in core inflation from 2.0 percent to 1.8 percent". Non-food CPI gained marginally to 2.3% in March, putting the first quarter reading also at 2.3%, or nearly a whole percentage point higher than 2016's full-year reading of 1.4%, led by significant jumps in the prices of services such as education and leisure, housing and healthcare.

Inflation in Britain was unchanged in March - but it was still up 2.3 percent compared to a year ago.

Over on the producer level, the PPI increased 7.6% in March from a year earlier, dropping slightly from the 7.8% increase in February.

"This could be partly due to the supermarket price wars in the United Kingdom over this period which resulted in a downward pressure on food prices".

As inflation outpaces wage growth, people's incomes are taking a hit.

Sheng Guoqing, a bureau analyst, said price rises in non-food sectors were overshadowed by price decline in food, resulting in mild inflation in March.

This is the highest consumer price growth seen since the end of 2013, the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics noted. "While house prices and rental costs rose over the year, the rates of increase continued to slow markedly".

While one Bank of England policy maker has responded to accelerating inflation and broken ranks to vote for a rate increase, the majority are focused on the wage metrics.

The February figures reflected the fastest increase since September 2008, raising hopes that the pick-up in prices could trickle down to other economies. "That will only happen if wages start to grow strongly as we try to bolster our spending power and/or our expectations of future inflation start to rise to levels inconsistent with the target". Economists had forecast the annual rate to slow to 7.5 percent.

United Kingdom living standards are under more pressure than at any time in 2 1/2 years and the squeeze is getting tighter.

The positives for the United Kingdom economy in today's data are that unemployment has continued to fall despite the Brexit-related uncertainty.

In the three months to February there were 31.84m people in work, 312,000 more than a year earlier.

  • Lila Blake