Petrol and food prices expected to spark rise in inflation figures

Rising petrol and food prices are expected to push inflation to a 25-month high when official figures are released on Tuesday. 

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation is forecast to hit 1.1% in November, up from 0.9% in October and 1% in September. 

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said food and fuel prices were both set to rise, while clothing inflation may have "snapped back" after weakening in October

Smaller hikes in the cost of clothes caused CPI to ease back in October despite economists pencilling in a higher figure of 1.1%.

The biggest downward impact came from clothing and footwear, where the price of garments - especially women's outerwear - rose 0.2% between September and October compared with a 2.3% jump a year earlier.

The cost of food prices also edged down 0.2% in October, with prices at supermarket checkouts continuing to fall as Britain's Big Four grocers remain engaged in a price war with German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

The potential for food price hikes came into sharp focus earlier this year when Tesco and Unilever became locked in a Mexican stand-off over the cost of key products, before the dispute was resolved.

Britain's biggest supermarket was left grappling with a shortage of store cupboard staples - including Marmite, Pot Noodle and Persil - after reportedly refusing to bow to Unilever's demands for a 10% price rise following the collapse of sterling.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said inflation is likely to jump higher in the coming months as sterling's post-Brexit vote collapse feeds into prices.

"Inflation is expected to have been lifted in November by an increase in food prices and by some services companies and manufacturers raising their prices (or reducing the sizes of their products) as a consequence of increased input costs resulting from sterling's overall substantial weakening," he said.

"The pressure on manufacturers to lift their prices is evident in producer input prices jumping 4.6% month-on-month in October when sterling sank to new lows."

Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned Britons not to be fooled by October's drop in inflation, as he said sharp rises in the cost of living were still on the horizon.

The Bank of England predicts inflation will nearly treble over the next two years, shooting up to 2.7% for 2017 and 2018.

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