Inflation in Britain fell more than expected in December, hitting the Bank of England's 2 percent target for the first time since November 2009.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 2 percent in the year to December, according to the U.K.'s Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday, following a 2.1 percent increase in November. The headline rate of inflation came in below the expectations of economists polled by Reuters, who forecast it to hold steady in December.
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The largest contribution to the fall in inflation came from prices for food - especially fruit and meat - which rose at a slower rate than a year ago, the ONS said. Non-alcoholic drinks and the cost of recreational products like computer games also contributed, the ONS said, although these were partially offset by a rise in the cost of petrol and diesel.
Robert Wood, chief U.K. economist at Berenberg Bank, said the inflation data could ease pressure on the Bank of England to increase interest rates.
"We're bang on the target, which is an awful lot better than the U.K. was a year or two ago," he told CNBC. "The Bank of England has a bit of room still to wait before it hikes rates, because inflation should fall a bit further over the coming months."
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