Lower cost of tea eases January price rises

  • By Faarea Masud & Michael Race
  • Business reporters, BBC News

Image supply, Getty Images

Image caption,

Slowing costs for tea helped ease inflation in January

Shop costs rose at their slowest price in additional than 18 months in January, in keeping with the most recent report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Inflation – the speed at which costs rise – has reached near-record highs in latest occasions, prompting a cost-of-living disaster.

However, reductions and decrease costs for milk and tea noticed store price inflation fall to 2.9%, from 4% in December.

Overall, costs are nonetheless going up within the retailers however at a slower price.

On common, meals costs are nonetheless rising by greater than 6% a yr.

The BRC, which represents some of the UK’s greatest retailers, mentioned store price inflation in January was at its lowest stage since May 2022.

Discounts after New Year additionally helped to decelerate the speed of price will increase for non-food merchandise, which eased to 1.3%, down from 3.1% the month earlier than.

However, the BRC warned in its report that many households had not felt the profit of decrease inflation, including there have been dangers that price rises may speed up as soon as extra.

Helen Dickinson, chief government of the BRC, mentioned progress in slowing price rises was more likely to be hampered by different cost pressures, together with implementing the rise within the National Living Wage, and a rise in enterprise charges in April.

“Rising geopolitical tensions will also add to uncertainty and costs in supply chains. With a general election later this year, we want to see political parties outline how they will help unlock investment across the country, rather than the current trajectory, which is doing just the opposite,” Ms Dickinson mentioned.

Dry January

Separate knowledge from analysis firm Kantar mentioned meals price inflation fell at a slower price in January as a consequence of fewer folks shopping for promotional gadgets in contrast with December.

It mentioned some 86 million extra lunchboxes had been taken to work in 2023 as folks sought to handle budgets extra carefully.

“As customers throughout the nation took on Dry January, spending on alcohol fell by greater than half in contrast with December, mentioned Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and client perception at Kantar.

Almost 6% of beer packs bought in January had been no or low-alcohol choices, marking a soar from 4% on the finish of final yr. Sales of own-label plant-based ranges elevated by 8% on the month as Veganuary acquired underneath approach, Kantar mentioned.

Several delivery companies have stopped vessels utilizing the route after the assaults by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Last week, the US and UK launched navy strikes towards the Houthis.

But Mr McKevitt mentioned: “There’s been so much of hypothesis in regards to the impression the Red Sea delivery disaster may need on the cost of items, however the story within the grocery aisles this January is extra in regards to the battle between the supermarkets to supply greatest worth, fairly than geopolitics.

“Retailers have taken their foot off the promotions gas slightly as we’ve come into the New Year, and that’s meant inflation hasn’t fallen as quickly.”

He added consideration would now flip to Valentine’s Day to see if {couples} go for extra low-key celebrations once more, like they did in 2023.

However, though tobacco and alcohol costs stay excessive, there may be some hope that headline inflation may fall to nearer the Bank of England’s 2% goal as power payments are predicted to return down in 2024.

The predicted fall within the inflation price has fuelled hopes that the Bank will minimize its key rate of interest, which presently stands at a 15-year excessive.

The Bank has elevated rates of interest 14 occasions since December 2021 in an try to deal with inflation, which has strained the funds of UK households over the previous two years.

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