The UK’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose at the fastest pace in nine months in February, official figures showed today.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that CPI inflation grew by 2.8% in the year to February 2013, up from 2.7% in January 2013. This increase follows four consecutive months when the rate stood at 2.7%.
Rising domestic energy prices made the biggest contribution to upward price pressure, following recent increases in household gas and electricity bills. Also adding to inflation were higher prices for recreational goods such as cameras and computer games, as well as motor fuels and air transport.
This price pressure was partly offset by smaller price increases for food and soft drinks and price falls for alcohol, compared with price rises a year ago, the ONS said.
The February figures from the statistics agency include two experimental measures of consumer price inflation for the first time. They are CPIH, which includes owner occupiers’ housing costs, and RPIJ, which is intended to be an improved variant of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) calculated using formulae that meet international standards.
RPIJ and CPIH were both at 2.6% in February.
Although the ONS will continue to publish details of the RPI every month, its designation as a “National Statistic” has been cancelled after a review found that it fell short of international best practice.
The RPI is a long-standing measure of UK inflation that has historically been used as a benchmark for a wide range of purposes, such as setting state pensions, rents, rail fares and index-linked gilts. In February the RPI 12-month rate stood at 3.2%, down from 3.3% in January. The February RPI rate is 0.6 percentage points higher than it would have been had it used formulae that meet international standards.
Commenting on the February inflation figures, John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said that the marginal increase in CPI inflation to 2.8% supports the view of the BCC that inflation is likely to rise slightly over the coming months, before easing back towards the end of the year.