News | Published May 20 2020

ONS: UK inflation fell to 0.8 per cent over April

The Office for National Statistics [ONS] has said that the UK inflation rate dropped to 0.8 per cent in April 2020, having been at 1.5 per cent in March.

The fall saw inflation hit its lowest level since August 2016, reflecting the first full month of the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown.

The decline was fuelled by petrol and diesel prices dropping, along with lower energy bills.

The ONS revealed that average petrol prices fell by 10.4 pence per litre between March and April, while global oil prices tumbled. It was the sharpest fall in petrol prices since records for unleaded petrol began in 1990.

Energy regulator Ofgem had also reduced its default tariff cap, seeing inflation go down even further.

Meanwhile, the prices of goods such as video games and consoles, board games, toys and knitting wool have gone up as consumers have bought products to keep themselves occupied at home.

The Consumer Prices Index [CPI] is now 1.2 per cent below the Bank of England’s target of two per cent, with economists expecting it to fall even further moving through the pandemic.

Core inflation, which does not count energy, food, alcohol, and tobacco, showed an annual rate of 1.5 per cent.

Elsewhere, inflation according to the Retail Prices Index [RPI], a statistic widely used in the bond markets, fell from 2.6 per cent to 1.5 per cent between March and April.

Clothes retailers have already been applying discounts to products in an effort to encourage sales, which is likely to continue as shops begin to reopen and have a further knock-on effect on inflation through the pandemic.

The ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics, Jonathan Athow, said: "While the coronavirus limited the availability of some goods and services, its effect on prices was more muted."

Athow explained that the prices of fresh vegetables saw "stronger rises" in price, but food prices generally went up no more quickly than those of other goods and services.

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
May 20 2020

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