Britain likely to reach a record low for inflation - London Report

CONSUMER price inflation is likely to have fallen to a new record low of 0.2 per cent in February, moving Britain closer to deflation.

Official figures out tomorrow look set to show the fall in the index, which comes after the previous low of 0.3 per cent in January.

Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said the weakening in inflation is likely to have been limited by petrol prices bouncing back after January lows.

“A further dip in consumer price inflation in February would be good news for consumer purchasing power and would likely reinforce belief that the Bank of England will not be hiking interest rates before 2016. Lower inflation would also be helpful news to the Conservatives (and Liberal Democrats) as May’s general election draws ever closer,” he said.

Other economic news includes the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Industrial Trends survey for March, out today. It is expected to show that the manufacturing sector is performing relatively well, despite a 0.5 per cent month-on-month dip in January.

Retail sales figures, out on Thursday, are expected to show that sales volumes rose by 0.3 per cent month-on-month in February, lifting them by 4.6 per cent year-on-year.

The Nationwide House prices survey, out this week, is likely to report modest price rises in March. Judging by other housing data, such as the RICS survey, the housing market may be beginning to regain strength after falling demand and mortgage numbers at the end of last year. Stamp Duty reform, low mortgage rates, high consumer confidence, earnings growth and rising employment are all likely to help the market.

The corporate calendar starts this week with results today from Finsbury foods, Pennon, SVG Capital and YouGov. Tomorrow AG Barr, Diploma, Game Digital, Panmure Gordon, SkyePharma, Spire Healthcare and Wolseley will give figures.

On Wednesday Alliance Pharma, APR Energy, Atlas Mara, Balfour Beatty, Bellway, Bowleven, Card Factory, Chime Communications, John Laing Group, Johnston Press, Topps Tiles, Tui AG and United Utilities will update the market.

Thursday’s figures come from Amec Foster Wheeler, Daily Mail & General Trust, EasyJet, Henry Boot, Laura Ashley, Safestyle UK and Signet Jewelers.

On Friday Homeserve, Imperial Innovations and Intu Properties will give figures.

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