© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man buys fruit and vegetables at the Brixton market amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, UK, September 27, 2020. REUTERS / Simon Dawson
LONDON (Reuters) – Rising food prices pushed consumer price inflation in Britain to a new 40-year high of 9.1% last month, the highest percentage of the Group of Seven, stressing the severity of the cost-of-living crisis. .
The figure, which rose 9.0% in April, coincides with the consensus of a Reuters survey among economists. Historical records from the Office for National Statistics show that inflation in May was the highest since March 1982 – and is likely to get worse.
“Rising inflation is putting additional pressure on politicians to ease the burden on households, while complicating the Bank of England’s task,” said Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK.
The Bank of England said last week that inflation is likely to remain above 9% in the coming months, before peaking at just over 11% in October, when regulated household energy bills are set to rise again.
The British government is doing everything possible to combat the rise in prices, said Finance Minister Rishi Sunak in response to the data.
Food and non-alcohol prices rose 8.7% year on year in May, the biggest jump since March 2009, making the category the biggest driver of annual inflation last month.
Overall, consumer prices rose 0.7% on a monthly basis in May, ONS said, slightly above the 0.6% consensus.
Core inflation in the UK in May was higher than in the United States, France, Germany and Italy. Although Japan and Canada have not yet reported consumer price data for May, neither is likely to come close.