UK Inflation Takes a Breath: Falling to 2.3%, Prices Ease Amidst Food Cost Declines

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a significant decline in the UK's inflation rate, dropping from 3.2% in March to 2.3% in April.

This is the lowest level since July 2021, when the rate reached the Bank of England's target of 2%.

The decrease signals a slowing down of price increases, bringing relief to consumers and businesses alike after a period of steep cost-of-living crisis.

Analysts believe this trend could pave the way for interest rate cuts, good news for mortgage holders in the UK hospitality sector.

ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner explained that lower electricity, gas, and tobacco prices primarily drove the decline.

Food price inflation also saw a decrease, with an annual increase of 2.9% in April, down from 4% in March.

Core inflation, which measures changes in goods and services excluding food and energy sectors, followed suit with a decrease to 3.9%.

Grant Fitzner added that this figure will influence the Bank of England's decision on adjusting interest rates.

The reduction in inflation is likely to have positive implications for the UK's economy, as it allows for potential tax cuts and increased spending power for consumers.

'This may still not be enough to convince more cautious MPC members to commit to a rate cut in June, especially while wage growth remains elevated.'

Yael Selfin

Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest, stated that this development will be welcomed by homeowners and property buyers hoping for a summer interest rate cut.

The transient reduction in mortgage rates at the beginning of the year brought brief relief to homeowners and prospective property purchasers, but this reprieve was short-lived as financial anticipations shifted, leading mortgage rates to rise once more.

The CBI's recognition of the current inflation trend as a possible precursor to an imminent interest rate reduction holds significant implications for the UK's hospitality and tourism sectors, potentially leading to improved business conditions and increased consumer spending in these industries.