UK shop price inflation hits new high – data
Annual inflation in UK shops surged to its highest in at least 18 years in March, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
According to the report, overall shop price inflation jumped to 8.9% from 8.4% in February, which was the largest increase since the BRC started tracking the indicator in 2005.
The rise was largely driven by food prices, which soared 15% from a year ago. The figure correlates with official data released last week, which showed that food and non-alcoholic drinks inflation rose to 18%, the highest since 1977.
According to BRC CEO Helen Dickinson, the rising prices for sugar were a major driver of inflation in March, while fruit and vegetable prices also surged due to poor harvests in Europe and North Africa, as well as the weakening pound, which made imports more costly.
“Shop price inflation has yet to peak,” Dickinson warned, commenting on the data.
Meanwhile, according to a recent survey by market researcher Kantar, soaring food prices in the country may force consumers to pay an extra £800 ($1,000) for groceries this year. Bloomberg’s Breakfast Index also showed last week that the cost of a basket of goods used to make the traditional English breakfast has surged by more than 22% in February compared to the same time last year, to over £35 ($43).
According to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK is suffering from its worst inflation in a generation. Overall consumer prices jumped to 10.4% last month from 10.1% in January, slashing hopes that inflation was finally easing after three consecutive months of slowing.
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