British annual inflation steady at 2.5 percent in March: official data

April 15, 2008 (AFP) – British inflation stood at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in March, unchanged from February, as declines in the cost of household equipment offset hikes to air travel and energy, official data showed Tuesday. The 12-month inflation rate for March meanwhile held above the Bank of England’s 2.0-percent target for a sixth month in a row.

On a monthly basis, the consumer prices index rose by 0.4 percent in March from February, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

“The largest upward contribution to change in the CPI annual rate came from transport costs. This was principally due to passenger air travel on European and, to a lesser extent, long-haul routes with fares rising this year compared with falls a year ago,” the ONS said.

“There was also a large upward contribution from housing and household services due to changes in the price of heating oil and gas.

The price of heating oil rose by more than a year ago while gas bills were unchanged this year but fell a year ago.”

The ONS added that the largest downward contribution to the change in the CPI annual rate came from furniture, household equipment and maintenance, whose prices rose by less than a year ago. .