The fairly strong inflation report from the Labor Department on Wednesday put more pressure on US financial markets, which were spooked by a surge in annual wage growth in January.
Consumer food prices rose 4.70 per cent in January, compared with 4.96 per cent in December, as prices of pulses fell 20.19 per cent from a year earlier. Last week the Bank of England kept the rate at 0.5 percent. Infrastructure/construction goods recorded a growth of 6.7 per cent in December from 5.5 per cent a year ago.
By hiking rates, they help prevent the economy from overheating.
The highest increases were recorded in prices of fuel and lubricants for personal transport and transport equipment, vehicle spare parts, accommodation services, maintenance and fix of personal transport equipment, appliances articles and products for personal care. The FTSE is heading into the close just 3 points higher at 7180 after bouncing off 7200. While consumer durables output growth slowed to 0.9 per cent in December compared with a 2.9 per cent jump in November, consumer non-durables was up 16.5 per cent. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase of 0.3 percent.
A separate report showed US retail sales unexpectedly fell in January and December figures were revised downward, suggesting consumer spending is on a slower track in the first quarter. Infrastructure and construction goods grew by 6.7 per cent in December against 5.5 per cent in the same month in 2016. "Moreover, the rise in oil prices since June 2017, coupled with a negative base effect from falling oil prices in the first half of 2017, may delay the fall in inflation". The December gain in the main index was revised upward to 0.2 percent from 0.1 percent.
Rising inflation could hurt consumer spending, which is already showing signs of slowing.
The market's muted reaction to today's stronger-than-expected CPI could be due to the fact that the spike wasn't massive, and also came on a day when January retail sales came in weaker than expected, said Mike Loewengart, VP of investment strategy at E-Trade.
CPI headline inflation was below economists' expectations in eight of the last 10 reports.
"Indeed Bank of England policymakers said last week they will try and bring inflation back to target more quickly than previously expected, which means rates could rise faster and further than anticipated".
Consumer prices increased at a higher than expected pace in January, according to data released Wednesday, fueling investor fears about rising inflation. Even so, equities have recovered some ground, advancing for three trading sessions in a row through Tuesday.
"Cooler heads will tell you the potential for an accelerated rate hike agenda from the Fed still looks unlikely", says Loewengart. The measure excluding food and energy is also below the Fed's target.
Should Wednesday's data be at a similar level of around 1.7 and 1.8 percent, Curran said, "then actually I think things will settle down".
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