UK inflation falls sharply to 3.9%

UK inflation has fallen to its lowest level for more than two years, driven largely by a drop in fuel prices.

Prices rose by 3.9% in the year to November, down from 4.6% in October.

Slowing price rises for food, including staples such as pasta, milk and butter, as well as for household goods were also behind the fall.

But while inflation, which is the rate prices rise at, is now well down from its peak in 2022, it is still almost double the Bank of England’s 2% target.

Falling inflation also does not mean most goods and services are cheaper, but rather prices are rising less quickly.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said that while UK inflation had eased again, “prices remain substantially above” what they were before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The last time inflation in the UK was lower than 3.9% was in September 2021 when it was 3.1%. Most economists had expected UK inflation to fall to 4.3% last month.

The Bank of England has also put up interest rates 14 times since December 2021 to try to slow price rises. Rates are now 5.25%, a 15-year high, leading to higher borrowing costs for mortgages but also higher savings rates.

The Bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, has ruled out cutting rates anytime soon, despite weakening economic growth.

UK inflation remains higher than in other countries including the US and Germany but the gap is narrowing.

The fall to 3.9% in November puts the UK on level footing with France, but ahead of the EU’s average rate of 3.1% and the US’s 2.1%.

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