The inflation rate in the United Kingdom surprisingly jumped to 10.4% in February, higher than 10.1% in January, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The inflation was pushed up by higher food prices and pricier drinks in restaurants, the ONS data showed on Wednesday, just a day before the Bank of England (BoE) announced its latest interest rate decision.
According to the ONS data, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) rose by 9.2% in the 12 months to Feb 2023, up from 8.8% in Jan 2022.
Moreover, the prices of food and non-alcoholic drink soared to their highest ever rate in over 45 years with particular increases for some salad and vegetable items as high energy costs and bad weather across parts of Europe led to shortages and rationing, ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said.
The data showed that the higher alcoholic drink prices added 0.17 percentage points to the annual rate of inflation in February, while the increased cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages added 0.15 percentage points.
Moreover, the overall inflation for food and non-alcoholic drinks rose to 18.0%, the highest since 1977.