The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.7% in February 2018, down from 3.0% in January 2018 according to figures out this morning from the office of National Statistics.

The largest downward contributions to the change in the rate came from transport and food prices, which rose by less than a year ago as well as falling prices for accommodation services which also had a downward effect.

Average petrol prices fell by 0.2 pence per litre between January and February this year to stand at 120.8 pence per litre in February.

This compares with a rise of 1.6 pence between the same two months a year ago to reach 120.2 pence per litre in February 2017. Sea fares rose by 2.9% between January and February this year compared with a larger rise of 13.2% a year ago. The sharper rise in 2017 may have been influenced by the pricing date for outward journeys falling on Valentine’s Day.

Restaurants and hotels also had a large downward effect on the change in the rate, with prices of overnight hotel accommodation falling this year but rising a year ago. These prices can be reasonably volatile but again, the rise in 2017 may have been influenced by the timing of Valentine’s Day.

There was a large downward contribution from food and non-alcoholic beverages, where prices rose by 0.1% between January and February this year compared with a rise of 0.8% a year ago.

The downward effect was widespread within the broad group, with the largest single contribution coming from vegetables where prices fell in 2018 compared with a rise in 2017. The rise between January and February 2017 came amidst reports of shortages of certain greens and salad vegetables arising from adverse weather in southern Europe.

Rising prices for footwear produced the largest, partially offsetting, upward contribution.

The Consumer Prices Index which includes owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month rate was 2.5% in February 2018, down from 2.7% in January 2018.

Following a steady increase from late 2015, the CPIH levelled off, ranging between 2.6% and 2.8% from April 2017 to January 2018.


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