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UK producer prices still rising at slower rate

UK producer prices rose by the lowest annual rate for more than two years in April 2012, according to a report released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The monthly Producer Price Index, which measures the price changes of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers, showed that output prices for home sales of manufactured products increased by 3.3%, compared with a rise of 3.7% a month earlier. The last time the annual rate was lower was in December 2009, when the index rose 3.2%.

Between March and April factory gate prices increased by 0.7%, compared with a rise of 0.6% between February and March, with higher prices for tobacco, alcohol and electrical equipment contributing to the rise.

The input price index shows that the prices of materials and fuels bought by UK manufacturers for processing rose by 1.2% in April, down from 5.6% in March. The ONS noted that the last time the annual rate was lower was in October 2009, when the index rose 0.8%. Moreover, this is the first time since October 2009 that the annual growth rate for input prices has been lower than the annual growth rate in output prices.

On a month-to-month basis the input price index was down 1.5%, compared with a rise of 1.7% between February and March.

In a separate report released by the ONS today, the statistics agency revealed that output in the construction industry in the first quarter of 2012 fell by 4.8% compared with the fourth quarter of 2011. Construction output fell by 3.7% in comparison with the same quarter in 2011.

A sharp fall in construction output was blamed for the UK returning to recession in the first quarter.


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