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Inflation continues to ease, but food price rises remain at record highs

The price of consumer goods and services bought in the UK rose by 9.2% in the year to December 2022, as annual inflation eased for the second consecutive month.

This is according to the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), which has been falling from a 40-year high of 9.6% in the year to October 2022.  

The annual inflation rate has generally been rising since February 2021, but the recent easing has been driven by lower price rises in transport, particularly motor fuel.

The price of motor fuel rose 11.5% in the year to December 2022, down from a high of 43.7% in the year to July 2022.

Inflationary pressures in recent months have largely been driven by higher food and energy prices.

Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages in the UK rose by 16.9% in the year to November 2022. This rate has risen for the last 17 consecutive months, from negative 0.6% in July 2021.

Indicative modelled estimates suggest the inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages would have last been higher in September 1977, when it was estimated to be 17.6%.

Electricity prices in the UK rose by 65.4% and gas prices by 128.9% in the year to December 2022, remaining the same rate as the previous month.

The cost of passenger travel has risen sharply, partly offsetting the reductions in motor fuel inflation.

The annual inflation rate for passenger transport by road rose by 11.3% in the year to December 2022 (largely because of coach fares) and 44.1% for passenger transport by air.

The inflation rate for passenger transport by air is the largest recorded rate for this class since at least January 1989, when our constructed series begins.

Inflation has also remained at record levels in restaurants and hotels, reaching 11.4% in December 2022, up from 10.2% in November 2022.

The December annual rate was the highest since the constructed historical estimate of 11.4% in September 1991, and was last higher in August 1991, when it was 11.8%.

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