This morning’s UK CPI figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that inflation rose slightly more than expected in January despite the country going back into lockdown. Consumer prices rose 0.7% in annual terms after a 0.6% increase in December, economists had been going for a rise of 0.6%. The figure was pushed higher by less discounting of household goods and an increase in food prices. Overall food and drink prices climbed by 0.6% between December and January, this compares to a 0.2% fall in the same period last year, and household goods fell by 1.5%, less than half (3.3%) a year earlier. The ONS noted around 8% of the prices it would normally collect were unavailable, less than the number in November.
It was also reported this morning that the severe weather that has hit Texas is taking its toll on the energy industry, stopping oil wells and refineries, forcing restrictions from crude pipeline and natural gas operators. The deep freeze (temperatures hit a 32-year low) and record snowfall have triggered the state’s electric power suppliers to impose rotating blackouts, affecting almost 3 million homes and businesses. Producers shuttered their production to ride out the storm with oil production plunging by a third, the most ever.