UK consumer price index is forecast higher

UTILITY prices are expected to have lifted the UK’s consumer price index (CPI), the household spending index due out tomorrow along with a swathe of housing and retail data.

“We expect CPI inflation to have edged up to 2.8 per cent year on year in December from 2.7 per cent, and retail price index (RPI) inflation to increase to 3.1 per cent year on year from 3 per cent,” said analyst Blerina Uruci, of Barclays.

“The increase in annual inflation primarily reflects higher utility prices, although we expect the seasonal increase in airfares to have been less pronounced than in 2011.”

Tomorrow’s releases include the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) House Price Balance, the Producer Price Index, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) House Prices, the Consumer Price Index and the Retail Price Index. Similar data is set to be released in the US tomorrow and on Wednesday.

On Friday, official retail sales figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will also be released, shedding light on how the UK’s vital Christmas season has treated embattled retailers.

Figures from another source, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have already pointed to only a slight December increase which failed to beat inflation. The BRC described them as “not a cause for celebration” as total sales rose just 1.5 per cent compared with December 2011.

In corporate news, the week begins with announcements today from Hydrogen Group, Taylor Wimpey, Big Yellow Group and Greene King.

Tomorrow’s updates includes those from IG Group Holdings, Brown Group, Burberry Group, Michael Page International, Halfords Group, Intermediate Capital Group, Ashmore Group, Spirit Pub Company and Ocado Group.

On Wednesday Barratt Developments, C&C Group, Diploma, Experian, Wetherspoon and Bloomsbury Publishing will all give trading news.

Thursday is set to be another busy day, with reports from NCC Group, Computacenter, Dixons Retail, Aberdeen Asset Management, Associated British Foods, Home Retail Group, ASOS, Mothercare and Premier Oil.

Bovis Homes Group, Record and Spectris will end the week with announcements on Friday.