Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A big drop in inflation
Posted by David Smith at 10:00 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

The February inflation figures are a bit of a game-changer. Had consumer price inflation stayed close to January's 3.5%, or even risen, the markets would have concluded that the Bank had got it wrong and that the pass-through from sterling's weakness was bigger and would be more sustained, swamping the inflation-dampening effects of spare capacity.

As it is the drop in consumer price inflation from 3.5% to 3% was better than expected. RPI inflation stayed at 3.7%, boosted by the housing effect, but RPIX inflation, the old target, dropped from 4.6% to 4.2% (much more above its old 2.5% target than CPI is above 2%). Interestingly, CPIY, excluding indirect tax changes, was much lower in February than in the autumn, and its annual rate is just 1.4%. That may be a better measure of "core" CPI inflation than the measure excluding energy, food, drink and tobacco, which edged down from 3.1% to 2.9%. More here.

The British Bankers' Association said mortgage approvals remained subdued, edging up from 35,154 in January to 35,276 in February.