Skyline view of the City of London financial district.
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LONDON — U.K. inflation cooled significantly in June, coming in below consensus expectations at 7.9% annually.
Economists polled by Reuters had projected an annual rise in the headline consumer price index of 8.2%, following the hotter-than-expected 8.7% reading of May, but annualized price rises continue to run well above the Bank of England‘s 2% target.
On a monthly basis, headline CPI increased by 0.1%, below a consensus forecast of 0.4%. Core inflation — which excludes volatile energy, food, alcohol and tobacco prices — remained sticky at an annualized 6.9%, but fell from a 31-year high of 7.1% in May.
Falling prices for motor fuel made the largest downward contributions to the monthly change in the CPI annual rate, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday. Food prices rose in June, but by less than in the same period of last year.
“There were no large offsetting upward contributions to the change in the rate,” the ONS added.
Sterling slid 0.8% against the dollar shortly after the data, hovering just above $1.29 as of 7:20 a.m. London time.
The U.K. has endured persistently high inflation that both the government and the Bank of England have warned could become entrenched in the economy, as a cost-of-living crisis and a tight labor market fuel wage price increases.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and U.K. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt told an audience in the City of London earlier this month that high wage settlements were harming their efforts to contain inflation.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last month projected that the U.K. will experience the highest level of inflation among all advanced economies this year, with a headline annual rate of 6.9%.
The Bank of England implemented a bumper 50-basis-point hike to interest rates last month, its 13th consecutive increase, as the Monetary Policy Committee struggles to quash demand and rein in inflation.
After the U.K. base rate went from 0.1% to 5% over the last 20 months, markets are narrowly pricing in another aggressive half-point hike to 5.5% at the MPC’s August meeting.