Tuesday 16 July 2019

Inflation jumps as transport, theatre and autumn fashion prices rise

Official statistics show inflation rose to 2.7% in August, up from 2.5% in July.

Shoppers were hit with higher price tags for autumn clothing last month (PA)
Shoppers were hit with higher price tags for autumn clothing last month (PA)

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Inflation grew more than expected last month, as higher price tags for transport, theatre tickets and autumn clothing raised pressure on household finances.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose to 2.7% in August, compared to 2.5% in July.

The data’s upward move was surprising given that economists were expecting inflation to edge lower to 2.4%.

(PA Graphics)

One of the largest upward drivers to price inflation was recreation and cultural services, which rose 2.2% month on month. It impacted upon the likes of theatre-goes, who shelled out more for entertainment in August.

Transport services rose 4.6% last month, driven by a 13.5% hike in air fares and a 17.2% rise in sea fares including international ferry routes.

Clothing also contributed to the upward move in August inflation, rising 3.3% month-on-month, as shoppers hit the high street for autumn fashions.

Sterling jumped on the news, rising 0.4% versus the dollar to 1.32. Against the euro, the pound was up 0.1% to 1.12.

ONS head of inflation Mike Hardie said: “Consumers paid more for theatre shows, sea fares and new season autumn clothing last month.

“However, mobile phone charges, and furniture and household goods had a downward effect on inflation.”

Telephone equipment and services, which includes mobile phone charges, rose just 0.4% on August, compared to a 1.7% jump during the same period last year.

Price rises for household goods and furniture slowed, rising just 1.2% compared to a 1.8% jump a year earlier.

(PA Graphics)

But shoppers were paying more more for groceries, with food prices rising 0.3% month on month, and 2.1% on a 12-month basis.

Fish, vegetables, sugars and confectionery had the biggest upward contribution.

At the pumps, motorists were also facing higher fuel costs last month, with petrol up by 1.4p per litre on the month to 128.6p per litre.

Diesel also rose by 1.2p to 132.8p per litre.

Prices for electricity, gas and other fuels were flat month-on-month.

(PA Graphics)

The Retail Prices Index (RPI), a separate measure of inflation, was 3.5% last month, up from 3.2% in July.

The Consumer Prices Index, including owner-occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) – the ONS’s preferred measure of inflation – was 2.4% in August, up from 2.3% in July.

Mr Hardie said: “UK house prices continued to grow but at their lowest annual rate for five years, driven again by a fall in London. The housing market saw strong growth in the North West, South West and West Midlands.”

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