British official inflation climbs to 4.4% in July

16th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

British 12-month inflation jumped to 4.4 percent in July from 4.2 percent in June, driven by rising costs for clothing, financial services and rent, official data showed Tuesday.

"The main upward pressures to annual inflation came from financial services, clothing and footwear, furniture, household equipment and maintenance, and housing rent," the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Market expectations had been for an annual reading of 4.3 percent, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

The Bank of England (BoE) had forecast last week that inflation was likely to hit 5.0 percent later this year, driven by soaring domestic electricity and gas bills, before falling back throughout 2012.

The British central bank's main task is to use monetary policy as a tool to keep annual inflation rate close to 2.0 percent.

Earlier this month, the BoE had left interest rates at a record low of 0.50 percent for the 29th month in a row due to fragile economic growth and the worsening eurozone debt crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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