UK inflation down slightly as furniture prices ease again in March

Furniture prices remained high during March but eased for a seventh straight month as overall inflation was down slightly.

According to the latest Office for National for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 10.1% in the 12 months to March 2023, down from 10.4% in February. On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.8% in March 2023, compared with a rise of 1.1% in March 2022.

Furniture and furnishing prices rose by 9.2% in March, down from 10% in February, while also declining from 16.8% compared to the same month last year. This marks the seventh consecutive month of easing price inflation and the lowest rate in well over a year.

The retail price of household furniture decreased to 9.6% in the month from a rise of 10.4%, while also down from 17.2% last year.

Garden furniture prices rose 9.8%, down from 10.8% on last month and from 11% compared to last year.

Carpets and other floorcoverings prices increased 10.3%, down from 10.4% the previous month, but did rise from 7.4% last year.

Other household textile prices, including furnishings fabrics, curtains and bedding, saw prices rise by 2.6%, down from 4.7% the previous month, while also down from 7.1% on last year.

Meanwhile, Producer Price Inflation (PPI) saw the rate of furniture output prices, factory gate, rise 10.7% in March on the same month in 2022. The rate remained static from a rise of also 10.7% in February.

Furniture input prices, material cost of production, were up 5.9% in March on the same month last year, while declining from a rise of 7.9% the previous month.

Producer input prices rose by 7.6% in the year to March 2023, down from 12.8% in the year to February 2023. Producer output (factory gate) prices rose by 8.7% in the year to March 2023, down from 11.9% in the year to February 2023. On a monthly basis, producer input prices increased by 0.2% and output prices increased by 0.1% in March 2023.

Commenting on the inflation figures for March, ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “Inflation eased slightly in March, but remains at a high level. The main drivers of the decline were motor fuel prices and heating oil costs, both of which fell after sharp rises at the same time last year. Clothing, furniture and household goods prices increased, but more slowly than a year ago.

“However, these were partially offset by the cost of food, which is still climbing steeply, with bread and cereal price inflation at a record high. The overall costs facing business have been largely stable since last summer, although prices remain high.” 

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