UK inflation remains historically high but eases again in January

Furniture prices remained high during January but eased for a third 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 10.1% in the 12 months to January 2023, down from 10.5% in December 2022.

On a monthly basis, CPI fell by 0.6% in January 2023, compared with a fall of 0.1% in January 2022.

Furniture and furnishing prices stood at 11.1% in January, down from 11.9% in December, while also declining from 13.7% compared to the same month last year. This marks the third consecutive month of easing price inflation and the lowest rate in well over a year.

The retail price of household furniture decreased to 11.4% in the month from 12.1%, while down from 14.1% last year.

Garden furniture prices stood at a rate of 11.9%, down from 12.2% on last month but up from 7.6% compared to last year. Carpets and other floorcoverings prices were at a rate of 12.2%, up from 10.5% the previous month and also rising from 8.1% last year. This marked a fourth straight month of increasing prices.

Other household textile prices, including furnishings fabrics, curtains and bedding, saw a rate of 4.7%, down from 7.2% the previous month, while up from 3.3% on last year.

Meanwhile, Producer Price Inflation (PPI) saw the rate of furniture output prices, factory gate, rise 11.9% in January on the same month in 2022. The rate also increased from a rise of 11.7% in December.

Furniture input prices, material cost of production, were up 8.2% in January on the same month last year, while down from a rise of 8.7% the previous month.

Producer input prices rose by 14.1% in the 12 months to January 2023, down from 16.2% in the year to December 2022. Producer output (factory gate) prices rose by 13.5% in the 12 months to January 2023, down from 14.6% in the year to December 2022. On a monthly basis, producer input prices decreased by 0.1% and output prices increased by 0.5% in January 2023.

Commenting on the inflation figures for January, ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “Although still at a high level, inflation eased again in January. This was driven by the price of air and coach travel dropping back after last month’s steep rise. Petrol prices continue to fall and there was a dip in restaurant, café and takeaway prices. The cost of furniture decreased by more than this time last year, in line with traditional New Year discounting.

“These were offset by rising prices for alcohol and tobacco, following on from seasonal price cuts in December and a more subdued rise at the same time last year. There are further indications that costs facing businesses are rising more slowly, driven by falls in crude oil, electricity and petroleum prices. However, business prices remain high overall, particularly for steel and food products.”

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