Serrari Group

The U.K. economy has reached a pivotal moment as inflation eased to the Bank of England’s targeted 2.0% in May, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report. This milestone, coming just before the upcoming national elections in July, underscores a period of relative stability.

In May, headline inflation retreated from 2.3% in April to exactly 2.0%, aligning closely with economists’ expectations polled by Reuters. Following the release of this data at 7:33 a.m. London time, the pound saw a slight increase, trading at $1.2721.

Sector-specific details reveal that service sector inflation, crucial for its reflection of domestic price movements, moderated to 5.7% in May from 5.9% in April. Core inflation, excluding volatile items like energy and food, also dipped from 3.9% to 3.5% during the same period.

Contributing to the overall decline in inflation were lower food prices, although upward pressure persisted from increased car fuel costs. Unfavorable weather conditions were noted as influencing grocery sales, which saw the slowest increase in two years, according to Kantar’s latest data.

Attention now shifts to the Bank of England’s upcoming interest rate decision on Thursday. With rates currently at 5.25% since August 2023, when inflation was notably higher at 7.9%, speculation mounts regarding a potential rate cut in the near term.

Most economists polled by Reuters foresee a reduction in rates by August, with financial markets already factoring in such a move possibly as early as September. This adjustment reflects growing confidence in the economy’s ability to manage inflation amid ongoing uncertainties.

Against the backdrop of the approaching general election on July 4th, where polls indicate a significant lead for the opposition Labour party, the economic landscape may witness policy shifts influencing future fiscal strategies and economic directions.

As stakeholders navigate these developments, the focus remains on how policymakers will balance economic growth with inflationary pressures in the post-election environment.

Photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

19th June, 2024

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