CPI inflation rate stays steady at 2.6% in July despite rising living costs

Inflation is expected to have risen in July.
Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Inflation is expected to have risen in July. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Inflation remained steady in July despite forecasts of a rise due to increasing living costs.

The latest round of data from the Office for National Statistics showed the Consumer Price Index inflation rate was 2.6% in July, the same rate as June, defying a predicted rise to 2.7%.

Meanwhile the rate of Retail Price Index inflation for the month – which is used to set rail season ticket prices – reached 3.6%, higher than the 3.5% forecast.

The ONS said the main downward impact on the cost of living came from a drop in fuel prices, which sank by 1.3% between June and July after growing by 0.7% over the period in 2016.

The decline was countered in part by food prices notching 0.1% higher month-on-month in July after falling by 0.2% over the period last year.

Meat and other items such as sauces became more expensive in July, the ONS said.

Clothing and footwear prices were putting upward pressure on CPI after recording a smaller fall of 3% between June and July, compared to a 3.4% drop last year.

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Utility bills were also pricier last month, with electricity, gas and other fuels lifting 0.8% between June and July after coming in flat over the period in 2016.

The Consumer Price Index including owner-occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) also remained at 2.6% in July, in line with the rate for June.

CPIH is the ONS's preferred measure of inflation, which includes costs associated with living in, maintaining and owning a home.

Households have seen their spending power come under sustained pressure from lacklustre wage growth and higher inflation, triggering an increase in credit and a decline in savings.

Despite the financial pressure, consumer spending has remained robust since the Brexit vote.

However, there is evidence suggesting households have been raiding money earmarked for savings, or using their credit cards, in order to keep spending.

The Bank of England expects inflation to peak at 3% by the autumn of this year.