Inflation sticks at 2.7 percent for third month in December

LONDON Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:55pm GMT

1 of 2. A gas cooker is seen in Boroughbridge, northern England November 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis

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LONDON (Reuters) - British inflation held at 2.7 percent for the third month running in December, while producer prices dipped below forecast as a rise in utility bills was offset by lower fuel costs.

Some analysts had feared a higher headline inflation number and financial markets on Tuesday took the figures as modestly reassuring for British consumers and for policymakers struggling to fend off recession.

But the numbers were unlikely to make it any easier for the Bank of England to push ahead with more moves to stimulate growth.

The FTSE 100 share index ticked higher, having been flat, while the pound hit a session high against the dollar before trimming those gains.

"It's a relatively good number. If you look at the core (inflation) as well that's down to 2.4 percent," said Deutsche Bank economist George Buckley.

"It's still too high. It needs to come down further obviously," Buckley said, suggesting slack in the economy could help bring down inflation over the course of the next year. "But for the moment it's remained sticky."

The Office for National Statistics said utility prices rose 3.9 percent on the year while fuel costs fell by 0.2 percent. It said the biggest downward pressure on the index came from a fall in transport costs as airlines cut fares.

Prices at the factory gates rose 2.2 percent on the year, below a Reuters poll forecast of 2.4 percent.

Stubborn inflation, above the Bank of England's 2 percent target since November 2009, is likely to have been a key argument against more quantitative easing at the bank's monthly policy meeting last week.

Several analysts said higher food costs - up 13.4 percent from domestic producers - would likely push consumer inflation back above 3 percent at some point this year. That would force central bank governor Mervyn King to write a letter to the finance ministry explaining why he is so far off target.

"Looking further ahead it looks likely that we'll get another inflation overshoot in 2013," said Commerzbank economist Peter Dixon. "It's entirely possible that by mid-year we'll get a very sharp spike in inflation back above 3 percent."

High inflation has put pressure on consumer spending, which accounts for around two thirds of all expenditure in the British economy.

The central bank's latest quarterly forecasts, released in November, showed inflation peaking in the third quarter of 2013, falling below the target only a year later.

(This story is refiled to correct headline to clarify inflation held at 2.7 percent for 3rd month)

(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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Comments (3)
DR9WX wrote:
I forecast real inflation at 7% for the next twenty years, provided people don’t lose confidence in the bits of paper with numbers on.

Official inflation will average 3%.

Average pay increases at 2.5%

Average social payments at 1.5% (Income support, pensions, nurses, police, government and council workers.)

These are best case figures, assuming the masses remain sedate and suitably distracted.

Jan 15, 2013 11:24am GMT  --  Report as abuse
DR9WX wrote:
After running the numbers, I have attempted to explain them below. Mathematically literate readers can use a spreadsheet and interpret it themselves.

After ten years, 7% real inflation, what cost a £1 now costs £1.97 So food has increased by 97p, what have incomes increased by?

Productive workers (2.5% per year) 28p
Social payments (1.5% per year) 16p

After twenty years, what cost a £1 now costs £3.87 So food has increased by £2.87, what have incomes increased by?

Productive workers (2.5% per year) 64p
Social payments (1.5% per year) 35p

This isn’t a UK problem. It includes Europe, Japan and America. In fact, most of the western world. Don’t forget that these numbers are based on a best case scenario of sedate and distracted people.

(I am not sure a hungry person can be distracted from being permanently cold and hungry. We shall see.)

Jan 15, 2013 12:02pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
DR9WX wrote:
I haven’t mentioned house prices. Despite most people being cold and hungry, many of you still want to know about property prices.

I shall tell you. Expect an average increase of 1% per year. So 10% increase over ten years and a 22% increase over twenty years. Required deposits will depend upon the BoE but expect 20% – 40% in general with up to 60% for high value areas.

How do I know all this? I don’t. I am making it up based upon my imagination, my analysis of the Global Financial System and 43 years experience dealing with you lot.

I have outlined ‘their plan’, please have a think about it and what ‘events’ could derail it.

Very few of you will want to know what happens to the price of gold. Hopefully, nothing. Realistically, it depends on how much longer the fiat currency party lasts. In 35 years it will be a steady and dependable value of around 100 times its current value. It won’t increase steadily but in leaps and bounds, mirroring the collapse of the west and the rise of the east.

Jan 15, 2013 12:48pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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