Latest UK consumer price index figures released
The UK government's Office of National Statistics has published its latest consumer price index data, revealing that overall retail prices rose by 2.4% in January 2006 - higher than December 2005's rise of 2.2%.
However, in the complete year to January 2006, the consumer prices index (CPI) rose by a year-average of only 1.9%, remaining unchanged from December 2005.
Upward effects The largest upward effect on the CPI annual rate came from transport, due to large upward contributions from fuels and lubricants (the average price for a litre of ultra-low sulphur petrol rose by 1.7p per litre to 88.8p, while the previous year's price fell by 3p per litre). There was a small upward effect from sea travel (particularly on international crossings), with fares rising slightly after falling the year before. A further large upward effect came from communication, due to changes in the cost of fixed landline telephone charges during 2005.
Downward effects The largest downward effect on the CPI annual rate came from furniture, household equipment, and routine maintenance - due mainly to a large downward contribution from furniture and furnishings. The effect of prices falling by more than the year before was amplified by an increase in the weight of the significance of this element in 2006.
There was also a large downward effect from miscellaneous goods and services, with large downward contributions coming from financial services (where the previous year's increases in overdraft fees were not repeated), and from other services not classified elsewhere, with costs also rising by less than the year before. Other large downward contributions came from: Recreation and culture (in particular games, toys and hobbies - reflecting changes in the price of children's toys and computer games); Food (particularly vegetables); and Clothing and footwear (with prices of women's and children's outerwear and other clothing falling by more than the year before).