UK consumer inflation rises to 3 -year high of 2.7 percent

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Latest figures have revealed that the United Kingdom unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6 per cent, the lowest in 42 years.

The overall price of electricity rose by 2.5% month-on-month after falling by 0.2% a year ago, but the rise was partly offset by a cap placed on prepayment meter charges.

The fall in inflation was broad-based and the CPI excluding vegetables also fell to the lowest level since 2012.

The Bank's latest forecasts showed inflation peaking at 2.8% by the end of this year although other experts believe an even tighter squeeze looms as the currency's weakness works its way through the economy.

However, some analysts suggested the squeeze on real wages might not last as long as feared. "But rising prices are hammering pay packets", Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O'Grady said. "That's why living standards must be a key battleground at this election".

Separately, Wednesday's ONS data provided some relief for employers who have said they are anxious that migrant workers are being discouraged from coming to Britain because of the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote and uncertainty about their future status in the country.

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The National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday stated that the country's inflation dropped to 17.24 per cent in April on year-on-year basis from 17.26 per cent in March. This is on top of rising clothing, auto tax, and electricity prices that affected overall consumer prices. But energy price rises from the "big six" suppliers more than offset a slight drop in petrol prices and clothing and vehicle tax also added to the pressure. Sterling briefly spiked to its highest in nearly a week against the dollar before falling back.

"Without higher wage growth, real earnings will continue to fall for the next two years, weighing on consumer spending and thus GDP growth", said Christian Schulz at Citi.

This pushed up import costs, which in turn boosted consumer prices and caused inflation to increase.

In the months ahead, he expects inflation to hover around 4 percent or slightly higher amid volatile fuel prices.

He added: "Improvement in the rate of economic inactivity in Wales has outperformed all parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland over the past year, while employment in Wales has improved at a rate of more than double the United Kingdom average over that same period".

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