Tame inflation hits BoE rate hike hopes

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Inflation remained unchanged in June at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent, with sterling falling to its lowest level since September as the unexpectedly weak data put a potential rate hike from the Bank of England in doubt.

A consensus of economists expect the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) June Consumer Price Index (CPI) to come in at 2.6 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent in both May and April.

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'However, gas and electricity and petrol prices all rose, with consumers seeing the highest price at the pump for almost four years, with inflation remaining steady overall'.

Mike Hardie, its head of inflation, explained: "Consumers have been feeling the benefit of the summer clothing sales, and computer game prices have also fallen".

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell gave an upbeat assessment of the outlook for the USA economy on Tuesday and downplayed the impact of uncertainty over US trade policy on the outlook for additional rate hikes.

Either way, after the vote for Brexit in 2016, Britain's economic growth slowed down due to high inflation and uncertainty for business.

Vegetables - including potatoes - also fell 0.9 per cent month on month.

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Tej Parikh, senior economist at the Institute of Directors, said: "The stickiness in prices will reduce pressure on the Bank of England to hike interest rates in August".

Ahead of this week, financial markets saw an 80% chance of the Bank of England raising rates in August because of strong evidence the first quarter slowdown for the economy was a bad weather-inspired blip.

Petrol prices are up 17.45 percent in June from 13.90 in May, while diesel prices grew 21.63 percent in June as compared to 17.34 percent in May. Annual inflation was expected to accelerate to 2.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

But some relief emerged for consumers on the high street, where clothing discounts, most strongly felt in men's apparel, left more cash in shoppers' wallets. After all, a sustained trend of high WPI inflation will not only add pressure on the RBI to raise interest rates, but could also potentially undermine the pace of GDP growth. The expected increase was 0.4 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices remained flat in June versus the expected increase of 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, monthly input price inflation eased notably to 0.2 percent from 3.3 percent in May.

This was the highest input price inflation since May 2017, driven by higher crude oil costs, despite falling on the month.