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News - 19 April 2012

Inflation rises By 0.1% In March From February.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation rose to 3.5% in March, from 3.4% in February, official figures showed today (17/04/12). This was driven by higher food and clothing prices and adding to views the Bank of England will shy away from giving the struggling economy another cash-boost next month.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that consumer price inflation rose to 3.5 percent in March from 3.4 percent in February, calling a halt to a five-month run of declines from a peak of 5.2 percent in September 2011.

The central bank and the government had been hoping that falling price pressures would ease the squeeze on Britons' budgets and boost consumer spending, but the renewed rise in inflation could threaten the fragile economic recovery.
The Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King and his colleagues, who previously predicted that CPI would fall swiftly back throughout this year to the Government's 2% target, will now be less inclined to pump more money into the economy through its quantitative easing programme if inflation continues to remain above target.
Britain's economy shrank at the end of last year, and while business surveys indicated a firmer start to 2012, a drop in manufacturing and weak construction output have raised fears that the economy has fallen back into recession.
Separate figures published by the ONS showed UK house prices rose 0.2 percent in February, taking the annual rate to 0.3 percent. The average price of a home stood at 224,473 pounds.

The ONS said the annual increase was driven by rises in London and the South East. Prices for first-time home buyers were 1.3 percent higher on average than a year ago.

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