The UK consumer price index (CPI) annual inflation rate saw an unexpected uptick to 4% in December 2023, marking the first increase since February, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.
Core CPI, which excludes volatile items such as energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, remained steady at 5.1% over the same period.
The CPI goods annual rate slightly decelerated from 2.0% to 1.9%, while the CPI services annual rate edged up to 6.4% from 6.3%.
On a month-to-month basis, the CPI experienced a 0.4% rise in December 2023, consistent with the growth rate in December 2022.
The CPI index for food and non-alcoholic beverages was 8.0% annually and 0.5% on a month-to-month basis.
The inflation rate for clothing and footwear witnessed an increase, reaching 6.4% in the year to December, up from 5.7% in November.
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The annual inflation rate for furniture and household goods rose to 2.5% in December.
The slight rise in the annual rate from November to December 2023 was attributed to a 0.4% price increase on the month, mirroring the rate observed between November and December 2022.
British Retail Consortium insight director Kris Hamer stated: “Efforts to bring down inflation faltered in December, with rises in clothing and footwear and alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
“Retailers face a number of extra costs this year that threaten the progress made to reduce prices. New EU border checks this month, disruption in the Red Sea, a hike to business rates in April and the potential of a new grocer surtax in Scotland are all challenges that retailers need to navigate in 2024.”