UK Inflation Slides but Core Inflation Accelerates to Test the BoE

Bob Mason
Updated: May 25, 2023, 06:17 UTC

UK inflation softened in April, with the annual inflation rate falling below 10%. However, food & non-alcoholic beverage prices and core inflation will concern the BoE.

UK inflation weakens in April - FX Empire

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It is a busy day on the UK economic calendar. This morning, UK inflation garnered plenty of interest. In April, sticky inflation figures raised the prospect of further Bank of England interest rate hikes. Inflation needed to soften significantly to ease pressure on the BoE and ease the threat of a BoE-induced UK economic recession.

The UK annual inflation rate softened from 10.1% to 8.7 in April versus a forecasted 8.3%, while core inflation accelerated from 6.2% to 6.8%. Economists forecast core inflation to hold steady at 6.2%.

According to the Office for National Statistics,

  • The Consumer Price Index, including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), increased by 7.8% year-over-year versus 8.9% in March.
  • In April, the CPIH increased by 1.2% compared with 2.1% in April 2022.
  • Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices continued to increase in April. However, the annual inflation rate softened from 19.2% to 19.1%.
  • Electricity and gas prices contributed to softer headline inflation but still contributed 1.01 percentage points to annual inflation.
  • The CPIH annual inflation rate for housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels eased from 11.6% to 7.3%.
  • Prices for services contributed to the pickup in core inflation. The CPI services annual rate increased from 6.6% to 6.9%, while the CPI goods annual rate eased from 12.8% to 10.0%.

While headline inflation softened in April, food & non-alcohol beverage price inflation and core inflation will draw the attention of the Bank of England.

GBP to USD Reaction to the UK Inflation Numbers

Ahead of the UK CPI Report, the GBP/USD fell to an early low of $1.24086 before rising to a pre-stat high of $1.24393.

However, in response to the inflation numbers, the GBP/USD slipped to a post-stat low of 1.24354 before surging to a high of $1.24678.

This morning, the GBP/USD was up 0.27% to $1.24481.

GBP/USD reacts to core inflation rise.
240523 GBPUSD Hourly Chart

Next Up

With UK inflation in focus, investors should also monitor BoE commentary. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey is on the calendar to speak today. Governor Bailey will deliver a keynote speech at the Mansion House Net Zero Delivery Summit before a fireside chat at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit ‘Inflation and the economy.’

Looking ahead to the US session, it is a quiet day on the US economic calendar. There are no US economic indicators for investors to consider.

However, the FOMC meeting minutes will draw interest late in the US session with US debt ceiling-related news and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also in focus.

According to the CME FedWatch Tool, the probability of a 25-basis point Fed interest rate hike in June stood at 28.1%, up from 25.7% on Monday.

Progress towards a debt ceiling deal and hawkish FOMC meeting minutes would raise bets on a June rate hike.

About the Author

Bob Masonauthor

With over 20 years of experience in the finance industry, Bob has been managing regional teams across Europe and Asia and focusing on analytics across both corporate and financial institutions. Currently he is covering developments relating to the financial markets, including currencies, commodities, alternative asset classes, and global equities.

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