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April 9, 2011    

UK producer prices continue to rise on surging oil costs

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by Kay Murchie

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed UK producer output (factory gate) prices increased 0.9% on a monthly basis in March, taking the annual rate to 5.4% – the highest since October 2008 and the sixth monthly gain.

Analysts had expected a fall to 5.1% and the news lifted the value of sterling briefly.

Meanwhile, producer input prices for March were 14.9% higher on an annual basis.

The 9.8% gain in producers’ crude oil-related costs was the fastest monthly rate of increase since March 2010.

The figures will no doubt put further pressure on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to lift interest rates.

Earlier this week, the central bank opted to keep interest rates at the record low of 0.5% despite soaring inflation.

UK inflation is currently running at 4.4% – double the 2% target.

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