This morning the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that UK inflation slowed to 0.4% in February from 0.7% the month before, well below the market estimates of a 0.8% rise. Although there were higher transport costs, these were massively offset by price falls in secondhand cars, clothes and toys. Footwear and clothing prices fell 5.6% in the year to February, the biggest drop since November 2009. Jonathan Athow, the ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics noted ‘A fall in clothing prices helped to ease inflation in February, traditionally a month where we would see these prices rise, but the impact of the pandemic has disrupted standard seasonal patterns’. Indeed, Clothing and footwear prices fell 1.5% last month from January, the first drop since 2007, and the largest decline for the month since at least 1988.
Also, the Suez Canal, one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, has been blocked after someone accidentally got their giant container ship wedged. The 224,000 tonne, 400m long Ever Given was ‘grounded accidentally after deviating from its course due to suspected sudden strong wind causing the hull to deviate from the waterway and accidentally hit the bottom and run aground’. Oops! Ships are now queueing at both ends of the Canal. On average 51 ships travelled through the canal each day in 2020.
Have a good day and spare a thought for the captain of the Ever Given.