UK inflation remains historically high but eases again in December

Furniture prices remained high during December but eased for a second straight month as overall inflation also reduced.

According to the latest Office for National for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 10.5% in the 12 months to December 2022, down from 10.7% in November.

On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.4% in December 2022, compared with a rise of 0.5% in December 2021.

Furniture and furnishing prices stood at 11.9% in December, down from 12.9% in November, while also declining from 12% compared to the same month last year. This marks the second consecutive month of easing price inflation.

The retail price of household furniture decreased to 12.1% in the month from 13.2%, while down from 12.5% last year.

Garden furniture prices stood at a rate of 12.2%, down from 13.5% on last month but up from 6.6% compared to last year. Carpets and other floorcoverings prices were at a rate of 10.5%, up from 9.3% the previous month and also rising from 7.8% last year. This marked a third straight month of increasing prices.

Other household textile prices, including furnishings fabrics, curtains and bedding, saw a rate of 7.2%, down from 7.5% the previous month, while up from 3.3% on last year.

The ONS said that the Producer Price Inflation (PPI) index for December has been cancelled after quality assurance checks identified an issue with the data.

Commenting on the inflation figures for December, ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “Inflation eased slightly in December, although still at a very high level with overall prices rising strongly during the last year as a whole.

“Prices at the pump fell notably in December, with the cost of clothing also dropping back slightly. However, this was offset by increases for coach and air fares as well as overnight hotel accommodation. Food costs continue to spike with prices also rising in shops, cafés and restaurants.”

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: “With food price inflation rising and the December cold snap forcing people to spend more on their energy bills, the festive season was a challenging time for families across the UK. As the war in Ukraine continues, so does the pressure on energy and food prices, particularly for animal feed and fertiliser, which drove up the price of many household staples. However, discounting ahead of Christmas helped to ease inflation in areas such as clothing and footwear, furniture and alcoholic beverages.”

“While there is some indication that inflation may have reached its peak, prices will remain high in the coming months. Retailers are determined to support their customers throughout this cost-of-living crisis. They are keeping the price of many essentials affordable, expanding their value ranges, raising pay for their own staff, and offering discounts for vulnerable groups.”

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