Jacob Deppe, Head of Trading at online trading platform, Infinox says, "A fall in inflation in January would have brought some welcome relief to Wall Street, which had been fretting about the possibility of a potential four interest rate hikes this year, rather than the previously expected three".
Today's data showed core inflation, which strips out the effects of food and energy (including oil), rose to 1.8 per cent annually, also higher than expected, after a 0.3 per cent increase in January.
NBS in the report said on a month-on-month basis, the NBS Headline index increased by 0.80 percent in January 2018, or about 0.21 percent points higher from the rate of 0.59 percent recorded in December 2017.
"UK inflation came in higher than expected in January, adding further pressure for (BoE) policymakers to hike interest rates again, possibly as soon as May", said IHS Markit economist Christopher Williamson.
The possibility of creeping inflation showed up Wednesday in the bond market, where years of low returns have encouraged investors to put their money into stocks instead of steadier bond yields. The figures for December and January are expected to be significantly lower than November when all the black Friday weekend deals were had a year ago, it appears that shopping spree has essentially taking over from Christmas sales.
All relies on the Consumer Price Index report that will be revealed today, on Wednesday.
The data also showed that the rate of price rise for consumer foods eased to 4.7 per cent in January, from 4.96 per cent in December. Retail sales were -0.3% in January, down from an increase of 0.4% in December and missing expectations of 0.2%.
The NBS said urban inflation rate rose by 15.56 per cent in January 2018 from 16.78 per cent in December 2017, compared with the rural inflation rate, which declined by 14.76 per cent in January 2018 from 15.02 per cent in December 2017.
The Retail Prices Index (RPI), a separate measure of inflation, edged lower to 4.0% last month from 4.1% in December.
United Kingdom manufacturers increased the prices they charged by 2.8%, less than the consensus forecast of 3% and the smallest increase since November 2016.