Inflation falls as pressures from Brexit-hit pound ease

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South Africa's headline consumer inflation slowed to 4.0 percent year-on-year in February from 4.4 percent in January, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Tuesday.

Falling petrol prices and a slower rise in the cost of food contributed to a drop in United Kingdom consumer price inflation during February.

The Brexit-driven fall in the pound pushed up inflation over the last 18 months, but those effects are now slowing, and prices are rising more slowly.

Annual inflation rates ranged between 2.8 percent in North West provinces while it was 4.7 percent in Western Cape.

The Consumer Prices Index including owner-occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) - the ONS' preferred measure of inflation - was 2.5% last month, down from 2.7% the month before.

The inflation hit a six-year high of 3.1% in November, and then slowed down to 3%, a level it maintained over the past two months.

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The BoE expects wages to grow more quickly than inflation later this year.

Petrol prices fell on the month and food prices rose more slowly than in February 2017, he said.

The ONS also said house prices in January rose by an annual 4.9 percent across the United Kingdom as a whole, down a touch from 5.0 percent in December but significantly higher than closely watched house price indexes from mortgage lender Halifax and Nationwide.

The fall in food price growth was partly down to a shortage of salad and vegetables past year when bad weather hit crops in southern Mediterranean countries, the ONS said.

"Hotel prices also fell and the cost of ferry tickets rose more slowly than previous year, when prices were collected on Valentine's Day, when many people could have been taking mini-breaks".

The main upward pressure on the cost of living came from clothing and footwear prices, which rose by 1.7% on the month - compared to 1.2% in 2017 - as women's shoes became more expensive.

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"We are increasing the National Living Wage which is already helping the lowest earners see their pay rise by nearly 7 per cent above inflation".

Which is much better news than we have had recently, particularly after the inflation spike which followed the Brexit referendum and the fall in the value of the pound.

"Core inflation probably fell back too, from 2.7% in January to 2.5%, which is likely to mark the beginning of a more sustained downward trend in inflation this year".

TreasuryONE said in a snap note on Tuesday morning that the inflation print leaves the door open for the SARB to cut interest rates at next week's Monetary Policy Meeting.

"As a result, we still think that the MPC will raise interest rates... in May", they added.

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