Inflation eases but won’t melt away

Using the UK consumer price index (CPI), the annual rise in the price of consumer goods and services eased from 2.9% in May to 2.6% in June. This unexpected easing marked the first fall in the annual inflation rate since October 2016 and perhaps reduces the likelihood that more members of the MPC will vote for an interest rate hike in the near future. That has been how financial markets have interpreted this morning’s figures, with sterling losing around one cent against the euro and the US dollar immediately after the inflation release.

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Inflation rising, and more in the post

newspapers-444447_1280.jpgWe’re still well off letter-writing territory, but inflation saw a significant jump from 1.8% year-on-year in January to 2.3% last month. This is the highest rate of inflation since September 2013 and marks the arrival of the consumer price rises that the Ulster Bank NI PMI has been flagging for some months. The main driver is the acceleration in the price of consumer goods – everything from new cars to newspapers – where inflation was virtually non-existent just four months ago. Continue reading

Inflationary wake-up call for consumers

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Cost of living crisis

During the post-recessionary period from 2010-2013 inflationary alarm bells were ringing loudly in UK consumers’ ears. The lack of pay rises during this period exacerbated the squeeze on disposable incomes and gave rise to the so-called “cost of living crisis”.  During this four-year period UK CPI averaged 3.3% per annum.  Meanwhile the average per annum price increases for food, energy bills and motor fuels were 3.8%, 5.7% and 8.2% respectively. Continue reading

Last orders for low inflation?

For the last two years or so, UK households have been in the midst of what has been dubbed a consumer sweet spot – low inflation aided by a sustained period of falling food, fuel and petrol prices. But times are changing. The significant fall in the value of the pound has started to fuel import price inflation – while exporters benefit from a weak pound, it is worth remembering we import more than we export. But it will be well into 2017 before we see the main impact of sterling’s depreciation on consumer prices. Continue reading

Chart(s) of the Month

Chart showing UK petrol and diesel prices since 1979

Last year was a great year for petrol heads with the price of petrol and diesel falling for the third successive year. Petrol prices fell by 12.8% in 2015 with the decline in diesel prices even more marked at 13.9%.  Both of these price falls represented the steepest declines since 1986. Back then a litre of diesel and petrol was 36p and 37p respectively.  The trend in falling motor fuel prices has extended into its fourth year in 2016.  The average UK weekly petrol price hit a low of just over 101 pence per litre at the start of February with diesel dipping just below this figure. Since then, however, petrol and diesel prices have risen by 8-9% and climbed above the 109 pence per litre level. Despite these recent gains, for the first five months of the year, petrol and diesel prices are 7% (petrol) and 9% (diesel) lower than the average for last year.  Given that the price of oil in sterling terms has been on the rise in recent months.  Further increases at the forecourts look inevitable.

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Petrol Head Index

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It probably hasn’t been a great year for Jeremy Clarkson. But can the same be said for petrol heads as a whole? Whilst consumers in general have been benefiting from falling food, clothing and energy prices, what has been happening to fuel, car, and auto part costs? With the hotly anticipated new series of Top Gear set to get underway, I thought it would be worth taking a peak under the bonnet.

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