China factory prices jump as demand strengthens

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that United Kingdom house prices rose by 5.8 per cent in the year to February but prices in London are seeing the slowest increase in five years.

The claimant count unexpectedly increased by a seasonally adjusted 25,500 in March, compared to expectations for a decline of 3,000 people and following a fall of 6,100 a month earlier, whose figure was revised from a previously reported reduction of 11,300.

This means that real wage growth - the increase once the effect of inflation has been deducted - was just 0.2 per cent overall and 0.1 per cent for those not paid a bonus in February.

Consumer prices last month increased by 2.3pc compared with the same month past year, according to Office for National Statistics data.

Clothing and footwear price tags were also on the rise last month, climbing by 2% between February and March in contrast to a 1% climb past year.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted March consumer inflation would edge up to 1.0 percent, but remain well within the central bank's comfort zone.

The NBS attributed the lower CPI reading to sharply lowering food prices, which fell 1.9 percent in March.

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Tesco Plc, the United Kingdom supermarket leader, said it would absorb some of the sterling-induced cost bump and keep prices low, which could ramp up pressure on competitors to do the same.

Centre for Economics and Business Research managing economist Nina Skero said households would increasingly feel the pinch as inflation outpaces wage growth.

Separately, the ONS said house prices rose by an annual 5.8 per cent in February, picking up speed from January and their increase since October. Ex-factory gate producer prices also receded after hitting an eight-year high in February. Without a major shift in either sterling or oil, higher United Kingdom inflation looks unsustainable, ' concludes Nossek. The U.K.'s economic growth relies heavily on domestic demand, which is likely to falter as Britons' wages struggle to keep up with price increases.

There are 31.84million people in work, 312,000 more than a year earlier, bringing the employment rate to 74.6 per cent - its highest level since records began in 1971. Forecasts called for a monthly drop of 0.2%.

"Goods inflation has been accelerating rapidly over the last five months and is at its highest rate since June 2013, while food price inflation is starting to filter through, with prices 1.6 per cent higher last month relative to a year ago - the fastest rate of food price inflation in two years".

However, Mr Archer said the CPI's upward trajectory will eventually "be constrained" by a weakening United Kingdom economy over the coming months, and that businesses will not be able to raise prices without outcome.