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Lowest jobless rate since 1975 fails to spur wage growth

19 April 2018

Falling clothing and footwear prices helped ease the pressure on households in the month, with the cost of furniture and household equipment, and alcoholic drinks and tobacco also falling.

However, most economists still expect the Bank of England, which had been forecasting CPI to average 2.9% over the first three months of 2018, to raise rates in May.

The pound slumped following news that the Consumer Prices Index 12-month rate dropped to 2.5 percent in March as the official data throws into doubt the course of the Bank of England's monetary policy this year.

"While this print is unlikely to dissuade the Bank of England from hiking next month - a rate increase is still expected - it will likely force the market to reconsider whether the United Kingdom will remain an "inflation outlier", and could lead to a repricing of when they hike next, weighing on the pound", he added.

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Inflation has fallen unexpectedly to its lowest level for a year, easing pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates.

"It's this wage-price spiral which underlines the case for higher interest rates".

Since February, Britain's central bank has homed in on what it sees as an increasingly tight labour market that risks keeping inflation above target, unless interest rates go up faster than it thought at the start of the year.

Many anecdotal stories in the United Kingdom suggest that inflation is considerably higher than the official figure for certain items. Figures showed air transport falling 2.1 per cent month on month, a smaller decline than the 3.9 per cent fall in March 2017.

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Yesterday we had wage stats, today it's inflation stats.

Food inflation is at -2.7 percent compared to 2.4 percent recorded in February, 2018 while Non Food inflation is 0.7 percent compared to 1.9 percent in February, 2018.

That probability is evident in the performance of the pound which has rallied this year, particularly in the past few trading sessions.

However, Mr Thiru said spending was unlikely to increase with "consumers expected to remain under pressure from uncomfortably high debt levels, particularly if interest rates rise further".

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Paul Hollingsworth, senior United Kingdom economist at Capital Economics, said: "The fall-back in inflation in March probably won't prevent the MPC from hiking interest rates next month, although it perhaps makes it slightly less likely". Unemployment, for example, is at its lowest rate since 1975.

Lowest jobless rate since 1975 fails to spur wage growth