PARIS (Reuters) – Inflation in the United Kingdom re-accelerated in December for the first time in ten months, to 4.0% year-on-year, a pace higher than expected, data published on Wednesday by the National Office of statistics (ONS).

Economists polled by Reuters on average forecast a slowdown to 3.8% from 3.9% in November, the slowest pace in more than two years.

The data could put pressure on the Bank of England (BoE), which meets on February 1, to delay the expected timetable for lowering the cost of credit, as its main policy rate reached a peak of 15 years, at 5.25%.

The BoE indicated in November that it would be necessary to wait until the end of 2025 for inflation to return to the 2% target.

Excluding energy and food, the rise in consumer prices stood at 5.1% last month, the same rate as in November. The Reuters consensus was 4.9%.

On a monthly basis, headline inflation stood at 0.4% and core inflation at 0.6%, compared to respective forecasts of +0.2% and +0.4%.

On the foreign exchange market, after this publication, the pound sterling is almost stable, at 1.2634 dollars (-0.02%).

British inflation hit a 41-year high in October 2022, reaching 11.1% following the surge in energy prices in Europe, notably following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(Written by Claude Chendjou, with David Milliken, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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