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United Kingdom pay growth slows to six-month low

19 July, 2018, 16:42 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Summer clothing sales holds back inflation

Average weekly earnings rose by 2.5 percent on the year in the three months to May, slowing from the previous three month period when they grew by 2.6 percent and the weakest since the three months to November, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday.

The Consumer Prices Index including owner-occupiers' housing cost - the ONS's preferred measure of inflation - was 2.3 per cent in June, in line with May's reading.

The cost of fuel rose to its highest level in nearly four years last month and held up the rate of inflation in the United Kingdom, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Whilst prices for motor fuels and domestic gas and electricity rose, this was offset by falling prices for clothing, games, toys and hobbies.

Inflation remained unchanged in June at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent, with sterling falling to its lowest level since September as the unexpectedly weak data put a potential rate hike from the Bank of England in doubt.

Some of the biggest energy suppliers - including British Gas, Scottish Power, and EDF Energy - have announced price rises set to kick in over the summer.

There was little immediate market reaction to the data, which economists said was unlikely to dissuade the majority of the BoE´s policymakers from raising rates on August 2 after their next meeting.

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Sterling hit four-month lows against the euro, with EUR/GBP hitting a high of 0.8923, before pulling back slightly to trade at 0.8912.

"The continued pick-up in producer prices suggests that inflation may rise a little in the short term as the recent oil price increases pass through supply chains", said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce. Month-on-month growth turned negative, with sales shrinking by 0.5% between May and June.

She added: "Lower inflation might make it easier for the MPC to raise rates as it will relieve the pressure on consumers' incomes".

Food prices eased by 0.6%, due primarily to a drop in fruit prices and a category that includes syrup, sugar, jam, chocolate and confectionery, for which prices fell 1.1% and 1.3% respectively.

Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, was also expecting a move higher in inflation.

"Now it looks odds-on that the MPC will hold fire yet again". "August's expected rate hike is, therefore, even less of a dead cert than it was".

Separate data from the ONS showed that average house prices in the United Kingdom in May grew at the slowest annual rate since August 2013.

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