The Bank of England (BoE) Governor has described the latest batch of inflation statistics as “quite encouraging,” adding that he expects a “noticeable drop” in the headline rate when the next set of data is released later this month.
Figures recently published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate – which compares prices in the current month with the same period a year earlier – held steady at 6.7% in September. This ended a run of three consecutive monthly declines and came in slightly ahead of analysts expectations’ of a further 0.1% fall.
ONS pointed out that the figures did include the first monthly decline in food price levels for two years. However, a sharp rise in fuel costs between August and September was the main factor that prevented the CPI annual rate from declining again. Despite remaining unchanged, though, September’s update does leave CPI below the level forecast by the BoE in early August.
The latest release did also report a fall in core inflation, which excludes volatile elements such as energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, although this decrease was again less than economists had predicted. This measure of inflation, which is typically viewed as a better guide to longer-term price trends, fell to 6.1% in September from 6.2% in August.
Commenting on the consumer prices data release in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said, “It was not far off what we were expecting. Core inflation fell slightly from what we were expecting and that's quite encouraging.” The Governor also stressed that he expects to see a “noticeable drop” in the CPI rate when the next set of figures are published in mid-November as last year’s sharp hike in energy prices drops out of the annual comparison.