UK inflation slipped further below the Bank of England's 2pc target in February to its lowest rate in more than four years as motor fuel prices fell.
Consumer prices rose an annual 1.7pc, the least since October 2009, compared with 1.9pc in January, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday.
The figures give the Bank of England scope to keep interest rates at a record low to support economic recovery.
Officials meeting this month saw the strength of sterling putting more downward pressure on prices.
They said further appreciation of the currency was possible as the UK economy improved.