According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), inflation remained stable in March at 1.9% as a rise in fuel prices from the previous month was offset by a fall in food prices.
House prices rose in February at the weakest rate since February 2019 but fell by 3.8% in London. The ONS said house price growth had slowed over the last two years.
Commenting on the inflation statistics for March 2019, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said it was likely inflation could edge upwards in the coming months: “CPI inflation was unchanged in March with rising prices for fuel and clothing, offset by downward pressure from across a range of goods including food and motor vehicles.
“It remains probable that UK inflation will drift moderately higher in the coming months, with firms reporting that the pressure to raise prices remains significant.
“Businesses say they are struggling to absorb the high cost of imported raw materials amid tightening cashflow – a task made more difficult by the raft of extra upfront costs imposed on firms at the start of the new tax year,” Mr Thiru said.
He added: “Higher energy bills are likely to add to the upward pressure on consumer prices. Weakening economic conditions are expected to limit the extent to which inflation will rise, so there remains little pressure to raise interest rates anytime soon.
“Instead, with the UK’s economic outlook subdued, there must be a greater focus on addressing domestic issues, including addressing the burden of upfront costs and taxes faced by UK business and longstanding underinvestment in the UK’s infrastructure.”