The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.2% in April 2018, down from 2.3% in March 2018.
The rate has fallen back from a recent high of 2.8% during autumn 2017 resulting in the April 2018 figure being the lowest observed since January 2017.
The largest downward contribution to the change in the rate came from air fares, which were influenced by the timing of Easter.
Rising prices for motor fuels produced the largest, partially offsetting, upward effect.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.4% in April 2018, down from 2.5% in March 2018.
As of 18 April 2018, the prices theme day – which encompasses consumer prices, business prices and house prices – has moved from a Tuesday to a Wednesday. Future release dates and further explanation of the reasons for these changes are available in a separate article.
The National Statistics status of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) was reinstated on 31 July 2017. A letter from the Director General for Regulation to the National Statistician detailed the actions that were taken to meet the requirements as set out in the CPIH assessment report.
We have illustrated our future approach to measuring changing prices and costs faced by consumers and households using three “use cases”, along with how they relate to the measures that we currently publish and those that are under development. Specifically, they refer to the CPIH as our lead measure of inflation based on economic principles; the Household Costs Indices (HCIs, currently under development with preliminary estimates published for the first time on 19 December 2017) as a set of measures to reflect the change in costs as experienced by households; and the Retail Prices Index (RPI) as a legacy measure that is required to meet existing user needs. Shortcomings of the Retail Prices Index as a measure of inflation, released on 8 March 2018, describes the issues with the RPI.
Consumer price inflation is the rate at which the prices of goods and services bought by households rise or fall. It is estimated by using price indices. One way to understand this is to think of a shopping basket containing all the goods and services bought by households. Movements in price indices represent the changing cost of this basket. Consumer price indices – a brief guide gives an overview of the indices and their uses.
The most common approach to measuring inflation is the 12-month inflation rate, which compares prices for the latest month with the same month a year ago. In any given month, the 12-month rate is determined by the balance between upward and downward price movements of the range of goods and services included in the index.
This release also examines how the various types of goods and services contribute to the change in the 12-month inflation rate between the latest two months. The size and direction of these contributions depends on how prices changed between both the latest two months this year and the same two months last year. For example, the price of a product could make an upward contribution to the change in the rate even if it fell, provided that it fell by less than it did between the same two months a year ago. Explaining the contribution to change in the 12-month rate (2013) covers this concept in more detail.
The CPIH is the most comprehensive measure of inflation. It extends the CPI to include a measure of the costs associated with owning, maintaining and living in one’s own home, known as owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH), along with Council Tax. Both of these are significant expenses for many households and are not included in the CPI.
Aside from including OOH and Council Tax, CPIH is otherwise identical to CPI. This means that, aside from these two components, the factors contributing to the CPI rate are the same as those contributing to the CPIH. For example, if food is reported as increasing the CPIH rate, it is also acting to increase the CPI rate. The size of the contributions for components other than OOH and Council Tax are exaggerated in the CPI compared with the CPIH because they account for a larger proportion of the overall index.
The CPI is produced at the same level of detail as CPIH, in the accompanying dataset and time series dataset.
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) does not meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics. In recognition that it continues to be widely used in contracts, we continue to publish the RPI, its sub-components and RPIX. To view the all-items RPI and 12-month inflation rate and an at-a-glance comparison with other measures, please see the time series section of the inflation and price indices area of our website. The accompanying dataset and time series dataset provide more detailed information.
The figures in this publication use data collected on or around 17 April 2018.Back to table of contents
The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month rate was 2.2% in April 2018, down from 2.3% in March 2018. Since reaching a recent high of 2.8% during autumn 2017, the rate has fallen back to its lowest since January 2017.
Figure 1 compares the 12-month inflation rates for CPIH and CPI, along with the rate for the owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH) component of CPIH. Given that OOH accounts for around 17% of CPIH, it is the main driver for differences between the CPIH and CPI inflation rates.
Table 1: CPIH, OOH component and CPI index values and 12-month rates: April 2017 to April 2018
|CPIH Index (UK, 2015 = 100)||CPIH 12- month rate||CPI Index (UK, 2015=100)||CPI 12- month rate||OOH Index (UK, 2015=100)||OOH 12- month rate|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
Download this table Table 1: CPIH, OOH component and CPI index values and 12-month rates: April 2017 to April 2018.xls (36.9 kB)
Figure 2 shows that price movements for all the broad categories of goods and services had an upward effect on the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month rate in April 2018. Communication had a small downward pull on the rate in March but prices rose in April so the category had a small upward effect this month.
The largest upward contribution to the CPIH 12-month rate continues to come from housing and household services, where prices rose by 1.8% in the year to April leading to a contribution of 0.52 percentage points to the CPIH 12-month rate. This was followed by recreation and culture, where prices rose by 3.5% in the year to April, the highest rate for this category since January 2010, resulting in a contribution of 0.42 percentage points.
Figure 3 shows the extent to which the different categories of goods and services have contributed to the overall CPIH 12-month rate over the last two years. In particular, transport, and food and non-alcoholic beverages prices have been important factors in driving the changes in the rate. As the overall CPIH rate began to level off from April 2017, the contribution from food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to increase, being offset by a fall in the contribution from transport, particularly motor fuels.
During 2018, the contributions from most of the categories have fallen back, leading to a fall in the 12-month rate. One exception to this fall has been recreation and culture. This category has seen its contribution rise slightly since the beginning of 2018. It has also broadly risen over the last two years with the increase coming from a range of the underlying detailed classes, the largest coming from package holidays.
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Figure 4 shows how each of the main groups of goods and services contributed to the change in the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month rate between March and April 2018. The corresponding figures for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) can be found in column F of Table 26 in the Consumer price inflation dataset.
The largest downward contribution to the change in the CPIH rate came from transport, principally from air fares. The timing of Easter in the middle of April 2017 contributed to air fares rising by 18.6% on the month whereas this year, Easter fell at the beginning of April before the price collection period and there was no price rise. Instead, fares fell slightly, by 0.2%, between March and April. Within the transport category, the downward contribution from air fares was partially offset by an upward effect from motor fuels. Petrol prices rose by 1.5 pence per litre between March and April 2018 to stand at 120.7 pence per litre in April. This compares with a 1.8 pence per litre fall between the same two months of 2017 to stand at 117.4 pence per litre in April 2017. Similarly, diesel prices rose by 1.6 pence per litre between March and April this year compared with a 1.8 pence per litre fall a year ago.
Clothing and footwear also had a downward effect, with prices rising by 0.4% between March and April 2018 compared with a larger rise of 1.1% between the same two months a year earlier. The effect came mainly from men’s clothing.
A smaller downward contribution came from food and non-alcoholic beverages. This was from a range of food products with the largest single effect from meat, where prices fell this year but rose a year ago, particularly for cooked ham. The downward contribution from food was partially offset by an upward effect from mineral waters, soft drinks and juices, where prices rose by 2.8% between March and April this year compared with a rise of 0.3% a year ago. This resulted in a contribution of 0.02 percentage points to the change in the CPIH 12-month rate, partially offsetting the overall slowdown between March and April. Most of this effect came from products affected by the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy or “Sugar Tax”, such as colas and energy drinks. More information on this can be found in the Prices economic commentary for May 2018.
The downward effects from these broad categories were partially offset by a small upward contribution from communication, where prices of telephone equipment and services rose by 0.4% this year compared with a fall of 1.0% a year ago. The contribution came almost entirely from bundled communication services comprising, for example, internet access, television and phone services.
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The Consumer Price Inflation Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:
the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data
users and uses of the data
how the output was created
the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data
The Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual covers the concepts and methodologies underpinning the indices in more detail.
The CPIH Compendium provides a comprehensive source of information on the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), with a focus on the approach to measuring owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH).
The Consumer price inflation basket of goods and services: 2018 article details the annual review process for the items making up the inflation basket used to calculate the UK consumer price inflation indices and describes the changes in the latest year.
Consumer price inflation, updating weights: 2018 describes the latest changes to the relative weights of items in the inflation basket to ensure they remain representative of current consumer spending patterns.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: Consumer Price Inflation Enquiries: +44 (0)1633 456900. Consumer Price Inflation recorded message (available after 9.30am on release day): + 44 (0)800 0113703
- Prices economic commentary: May 2018
- Construction output price indices (OPIs), UK: January to March 2018
- UK House Price Index: March 2018
- Producer price inflation, UK: April 2018
- Services producer price inflation, UK: January to March 2018
- Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, Great Britain: April 2018
You might also be interested in:
- Consumer price inflation detailed briefing note: April 2018
- Consumer Price Indices - A brief guide
- Consumer Price Inflation Quality and Methodology Information
- Users and uses of consumer price inflation statistics
- Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual 2014 Edition
- Advisory panel for Consumer Prices