U.K. Inflation Eases in June as Expected

Britain's inflation rate fell as expected in June on lower utility bills but the figures are still likely to keep alive expectations of further interest rates hikes ahead.

The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that consumer prices rose 0.2% on the month, bringing the annual rate down a tenth of a point to 2.4%, still above the central bank's target.

While economists and the central bank had expected lower household bills and higher fuel prices, there was also a significant upward impact on inflation from higher furniture prices.

These went up at a record annual rate in June ahead of the usual summer sales, pointing to continued strong demand in the housing market.

The core CPI annual rate, which excludes energy, alcohol, food and tobacco prices, rose to 2.0% -- its highest since March 1997 -- from 1.9% in May.

The old retail price inflation (RPI) rate, meanwhile, rose unexpectedly to 4.4% as housing costs rose thanks to dearer mortgages.

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