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UK inflation rate jumps to 1.6%



Rising air fares and food prices helped to push up UK inflation to its highest rate since July 2014 in December.
Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 1.6% last month, up from 1.2% in November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The rise was bigger than expected, with analysts having predicted 1.4%.
The fall in the pound since the Brexit vote was starting to feed into the economy, said the BBC's economics editor, Kamal Ahmed.
ONS head of inflation Mike Prestwood said: "This is the highest CPI has been for over two years, though the annual rate remains below the Bank of England's target and low by historical standards.
"Rising air fares and food prices, along with petrol prices falling less than last December, all helped to push up the rate of inflation.
"Rising raw material costs also continued to push up the prices of goods leaving factories."
Separate figures for the Producer Price Index (PPI) showed that the price of goods bought from factories rose 2.7% in December compared with a year ago, as manufacturers started to pass through higher input costs following the fall in the pound.
Consumer inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rose to 2.5% in December from 2.2% the previous month.
On Monday, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said that UK consumers faced headwinds this year as spending could be hit by rising prices from the weaker pound.