'Turning point' as inflation falls to seven-month low

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Official data published on Tuesday showed consumer prices rose by an annual 2.7 percent last month, the weakest increase since July of past year.

"February's reading of 2.7% was slightly lower than expectations and 2.5% for underlying inflation is in line with forecasts".

Petrol prices fell by 0.2p per litre on the month, while diesel dropped by 0.1p.

Andrew Sentance, senior economic adviser at PwC, said: "It is not a surprise to see United Kingdom inflation starting to fall back".

However, she expected the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation to average around 5.5 percent for next year.

However, the index increased 3.9 percent from the previous year period. It expects wages to grow more quickly than inflation.

Britain's annual inflation rate slowed in February as food and transport costs rose by less than one year ago, official data showed on Tuesday.

On a month-on-month basis, inflation rose to 0.8 percent in February from 0.3 percent in January.

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The fall in food prices was partly down to a shortage of salad and vegetables past year when bad weather hit crops in southern Mediterranean countries, the ONS said.

The main upward pressure on the cost of living came from clothing and footwear prices, which rose by 1.7 per cent on the month - compared to 1.2 per cent in 2017 - as women's shoes became more expensive.

"We are increasing the National Living Wage which is already helping the lowest earners see their pay rise by nearly 7 per cent above inflation".

There are signs that the Brexit hit to prices has peaked, however, though the BoE expects a residual impact to last years.

As the latest Resolution Foundation report, The Living Standards Outlook, revealed, the last decade has seen the most anaemic rates of wage growth for 200 years.

It also said it believed inflation would fall back to target this year.

"This fallback in inflation therefore provides little reason for the Bank of England to hold back from gradually raising interest rates".

Kevin Doran, chief investment officer at AJ Bell, said: "While today's numbers show a small moderation in price rises, they don't detract from the fact that interest rates and yields on bonds continue to track significantly below the pace of inflation". However, solid economic data and the risks around Sterling depreciating further, especially as we move closer to the realities of implementing Brexit, are likely to see Mark Carney and the fellow members remain poised to raise rates again in the near future'.

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