Inflation jumps to five-year high, boosting chances of interest rate hike


Although he predicts that British Gas's price hikes, which will come into play next month, will add 0.05 percentage points to October's inflation rate, this will be offset by retailers raising prices at a lower rate than a year ago, when they passed on higher sterling-related import prices faster than anticipated.

Consumer price inflation in August was 2.9% and rose to 3.0% in September, meaning the squeeze on real incomes remained fierce. At the moment, the full new state pension is £159.55 per week, equivalent to £8,296.60 per year.

'This view is not necessarily shared by the Bank of England, and today's announcement makes an interest rate rise in November a near certainty as the Monetary Policy Committee takes action show they are keeping inflation under control'.

To be sure, there is the risk that an imminent rate hike would slow wages growth but at this stage in the United Kingdom economic cycle (full employment) - this risk is more than offset by easing pressure on inflation that a rate hike brings.

He said inflation is likely to peak above three per cent this month and stay above two per cent for three years.

The Bank governor is required to write to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, if inflation moves more than one per cent above the 2 per cent target level.

Nonetheless, last month the BoE said it expected to raise interest rates in the coming months if the economy and price pressures continued to strengthen.

Four days and one month before to this day, the British pound staged a sterling rally - it soared to pre-Brexit levels against the USA dollar and the Japanese yen (and to a two-month high against the strengthening euro).

But since then, the pound has drifted lower against its major currency counterparts - down by 3.1% to US$1.3169 overnight from US$1.35 after the BOE's September meeting; down by 2.0% ¥147.93 over the same period; and down by 1.4% to €1.1205.

The retail prices index (RPI) rose by 3.9% in September - which means United Kingdom businesses will face a 3.9% rise in their business rates next year.

Despite coming in shy of forecasts, the RPI rate still means English businesses will face a rates rise of £1.1 billion next year.

ONS head of inflation Mike Prestwood said: "Food prices and a range of transport costs helped to push up inflation in September".

On an annual basis, prices rose by 3% last month, the highest since October 2013 when they climbed by 3.9%.

The Consumer Price Index, including owner-occupiers' housing costs (CPIH), was 2.8% in September, up from 2.7% in August.