UK Inflation Rate and Graphs

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Current UK Inflation Rate

  • CPI inflation rate:  1.8% (headline rate) CPI – D7G7 at ONS
  • (page updated 19 Feb 2020)

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Other measures of inflation

  • (CPIH) CPI including owner occupiers’ housing costs – 1.8% (CPIH – L550)
  • RPI – 2.7% (Jan 2020)
  • See: Measures of inflation

Cost-push inflationary factors

In 2017, the UK saw a rise in cost-push inflationary pressures. This caused a spike in inflation, despite relatively weak economic growth. Cost-push inflationary factors have come from:

  • Devaluation in Sterling. This makes imports more expensive and has fed through into higher input prices for manufacturers.
  • Rise in petrol prices in the early part of 2017.
  • Rise in food and recreational goods.

In 2018/19, these cost-push factors have fallen away and weak economic growth has kept inflation below target.

Reasons for low inflation in the UK

  • Low worldwide inflationary expectations. Europe is experiencing very low rates of inflation.
  • Fall in global inflation rates since 2007.
  • Supermarket price wars, with big chains, such as Tesco and Sainsbury attempting to maintain market share from Pound Shops and discounters like Lidl.
  • Weaker commodity price growth.
  • Fiscal austerity – many government departments still seeing spending squeezed. In particular public sector pay restraint of recent years has reduced real wages for public sector workers.
  • Private sector wage growth is still weak. This has limited costs of firms and limited growth in aggregate demand.
  • A potential negative output gap, with real GDP still around 10-15% below pre-crisis trend rate.

Inflation trends in the UK

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Despite temporary cost-push inflationary factors in 2017, underlying inflationary pressures remain muted – at least compared to the past four decades.

The current UK inflation rate compares favourably to much of the post-war period.

1970s Inflation

The 1970s frequently saw double-digit inflation. This was due

  • Cost-push factors – rapid rise in oil prices
  • Rising wages due to powerful trade unions trying to keep up with living costs.
  • Lack of independent monetary policy
  • Inflation expectations rose

Late 1980s inflation

The inflation of the late 1980s was due to

  • Rapid economic growth ‘The Lawson Boom‘ – growth was above the trend rate causing supply shortages
  • Rise in house prices fuelling wealth effect
  • Lack of independent monetary policy. Policy was partly set by ‘shadowing the D-Mark’ which led to loose monetary policy in late 1980s

Inflation and wages

  • Real wages = nominal wages – inflation.
  • Usually, during a period of economic growth – wage growth is higher than inflation, this leads to positive real wage growth.
  • During the economic recession of 2009-13 – we had a prolonged period of negative real wage growth. Wages rising at a slower rate than inflation.
  • The end of 2014 saw the first signs of renewed wage growth and positive real wage growth.

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In 2017/18, the trend of negative real wage growth resumed.

However, since 2018, wages have started to creep up whilst inflation has fallen.

See more at UK wage growth

Inflation since 1990

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  • Inflation rose over 8% in the late 1980s due to the Lawson boom, which was a period of unsustainable economic growth.
  • Inflation was low in the period 1992 to 2007. This was a period known as the ‘great moderation’
  • The inflation of 2008 and 2012 was due to cost-push factors (devaluation and rising commodity prices)

Read moreUK Inflation Rate and Graphs

UK Unemployment Stats and Graphs

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A selection of graphs and statistics on UK unemployment. Also, looking at factors that explain UK unemployment and why unemployment has fallen in recent years. Raw data:  Labour market data | Source: ONS MGSX (LFS) Current UK Unemployment rate An unemployment rate of 3.8%, (Dec 2019) –  (UK Unemployment at ONS) The UK employment rate …

Read moreUK Unemployment Stats and Graphs

How to evaluate the reliability of economic data?

reliability-of-data

Readers Question: how to evaluate the reliability of economic data? This is a good question. In brief, some issues to consider Is there a political angle? – Political leanings of media/think tank In what context is the data presented? How to interpret the data. Should we look at nominal data, real data or as a …

Read moreHow to evaluate the reliability of economic data?

EU inflation and deflation

eurozone inflation

The Eurozone inflation rate is 0.4% (ECB database)  (Sept 2014) Eurozone HCIP inflation rate HCIP (Harmonized consumer index prices) Source:| (ECB Inflation graphs, sometimes a few months outdated) Food inflation Food inflation is currently negative. Food inflation tends to be one of the most volatile components. This negative food inflation is one factor reducing the …

Read moreEU inflation and deflation

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