UK CPI inflation declines to 2.3% in April, closing in on BoE's target


  • United Kingdom annual CPI rose 2.3% in April vs. 2.1% forecast.
  • British inflation increased by 0.3% MoM in April, beat estimates.
  • GBP/USD spikes toward 1.2750 on UK CPI inflation data.

The United Kingdom (UK) Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 2.3% over the year in April after rising 3.2% in March, the data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Wednesday. The reading beat the market forecast of a 2.1% growth.

Core CPI (excluding volatile food and energy items) grew by 3.9% YoY in April, as against March’s increase of 4.2% while beating the estimated 3.6% print.

The UK April Services CPI rose 5.9%% YoY, down slightly from a 6.0% increase seen in March.

Meanwhile, the UK Consumer Price Index rose 0.3% MoM in April, down from a 0.6% acceleration in March but above the expected 0.2% figure.

Commenting on the UK inflation report, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that “today marks a major moment for the economy, with inflation back to normal.”

GBP/USD reaction to the UK CPI inflation data

GBP/USD caught a fresh bid wave toward 1.2750 in an immediate reaction to UK CPI data, before quickly reversing to near 1.2740, where it now wavers. The pair is trading 0.27% higher on the day.

GBP/USD:15-minutes chart

British Pound PRICE Today

The table below shows the percentage change of British Pound (GBP) against listed major currencies today. British Pound was the strongest against the Japanese Yen.

  USD EUR GBP JPY CAD AUD NZD CHF
USD   -0.03% -0.29% 0.13% -0.08% -0.08% -0.60% 0.03%
EUR 0.03%   -0.26% 0.17% -0.05% -0.04% -0.56% 0.03%
GBP 0.29% 0.26%   0.42% 0.18% 0.22% -0.30% 0.31%
JPY -0.13% -0.17% -0.42%   -0.22% -0.22% -0.72% -0.12%
CAD 0.08% 0.05% -0.18% 0.22%   -0.00% -0.47% 0.08%
AUD 0.08% 0.04% -0.22% 0.22% 0.00%   -0.50% 0.11%
NZD 0.60% 0.56% 0.30% 0.72% 0.47% 0.50%   0.59%
CHF -0.03% -0.03% -0.31% 0.12% -0.08% -0.11% -0.59%  

The heat map shows percentage changes of major currencies against each other. The base currency is picked from the left column, while the quote currency is picked from the top row. For example, if you pick the British Pound from the left column and move along the horizontal line to the US Dollar, the percentage change displayed in the box will represent GBP (base)/USD (quote).


This section below was published at 02:15 GMT as a preview of the UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.

  • The UK Office for National Statistics will publish the CPI report on Wednesday.
  • United Kingdom’s headline and core annual inflation are likely to fall sharply in April.
  • The UK CPI data could affirm BoE June interest rate cut expectations, triggering a big move for the Pound Sterling.

The United Kingdom’s (UK) Office for National Statistics (ONS) will release the high-impact Consumer Price Index (CPI) data on Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

The UK CPI inflation report could show a fresh significant decline in inflation, ramping up expectations of an interest-rate cut by the Bank of England (BoE) in June and fuelling intense volatility around the Pound Sterling.

What to expect from the next UK inflation report?

The headline annual UK Consumer Price Index is expected to increase by 2.1% in April, a significant cooling off from a 3.2% rise in March. The reading would be the lowest since July 2021, almost at the BoE’s 2.0% target.

Core CPI inflation is seen declining to 3.6% YoY in April from 4.2% in March, also set to see a sharp slowdown. Meanwhile, the British monthly CPI is likely to rise 0.2% in the same period, as against the previous acceleration of 0.6%.

The primary reason behind the sharp deceleration in UK inflation could be a notable decline in the Ofgem energy price cap. Economists also expect services inflation – one of the stickiest components of price growth and a concern for many policymakers – to fall to 5.4% YoY even in April, down from a 6.0% figure recorded in March.

A bigger-than-expected drop in headline annual inflation and services inflation could cement a BoE June rate cut. Money markets are currently pricing in a 60% probability that the UK central bank will lower borrowing costs next month.

Following its May policy meeting, the BoE maintained interest rates at a 16-year high of 5.25%, in a split decision with two members dissenting in favor of a rate reduction by 25 basis points (bps) to 5%.

However, BoE Governor Andrew Bailey, during his post-policy meeting press conference, said that "we are not yet at a point where we can cut the base rate." Commenting on the possibility of a June rate cut, he noted that there are two more inflation prints before that meeting. 

Previewing the UK inflation data, analysts at TD Securities (TDS) noted: “Headline inflation should fall to just a touch above the 2% target in April, largely on the back of another 13% decline in Ofgem's energy price cap. Base effects in core goods should help core to fall to 3.6% y/y (mkt: 3.6%).”

“On services, we see sticky momentum, partly in hotels and airfares, keeping the y/y rate 0.1 ppts above the BoE's forecast,” the TDS analysts said.

When will the UK Consumer Price Index report be released and how could it affect GBP/USD?

The CPI data will highlight the UK calendar on Wednesday at 06:00 GMT. The Pound Sterling is battling the 1.2700 round level against the US Dollar in the lead-up to the inflation release. Meanwhile, the US Dollar Index is holding its recovery momentum on waning expectations of aggressive interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve (Fed).

A hotter-than-expected headline and core inflation data could pour cold water on market expectations of a June BoE rate cut, providing a fresh lift to the Pound Sterling. In such a case, GBP/USD could unleash additional recovery toward the 1.2800 level. On the other hand, GBP/USD could retest the 1.2600 demand area if significantly softer UK CPI readings affirm BoE rate cut bets for next month.

Dhwani Mehta, Asian Session Lead Analyst at FXStreet, offers a brief technical outlook for the major and explains: “GBP/USD’s daily chart portrays a bullish crossover of the 21-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) and the 200-day SMA, suggesting a constructive outlook for the pair in the near term. The 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) points north above the midline, near 67.0, justifying the bullish potential in the Pound Sterling.”

Dhwani adds: “The pair need to take out the March 21 high of 1.2804 to sustain the recovery momentum. The upside targets are seen at the 1.2850 psychological level and the March 8 high of 1.2894. On the other hand, the immediate support is placed at 1.2633, the 100-day SMA, below which the 1.2585-1.2565 demand area could be tested. The last line of defense for buyers is seen at the 200-day SMA at 1.2540.” Dhwani adds.

Economic Indicator

Consumer Price Index (YoY)

The United Kingdom (UK) Consumer Price Index (CPI), released by the Office for National Statistics on a monthly basis, is a measure of consumer price inflation – the rate at which the prices of goods and services bought by households rise or fall – produced to international standards. It is the inflation measure used in the government’s target. The YoY reading compares prices in the reference month to a year earlier. Generally, a high reading is seen as bullish for the Pound Sterling (GBP), while a low reading is seen as bearish.

Read more.

Next release: Wed Jun 19, 2024 06:00

Frequency: Monthly

Consensus: -

Previous: 2.3%

Source: Office for National Statistics

The Bank of England is tasked with keeping inflation, as measured by the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) at around 2%, giving the monthly release its importance. An increase in inflation implies a quicker and sooner increase of interest rates or the reduction of bond-buying by the BOE, which means squeezing the supply of pounds. Conversely, a drop in the pace of price rises indicates looser monetary policy. A higher-than-expected result tends to be GBP bullish.

Inflation FAQs

Inflation measures the rise in the price of a representative basket of goods and services. Headline inflation is usually expressed as a percentage change on a month-on-month (MoM) and year-on-year (YoY) basis. Core inflation excludes more volatile elements such as food and fuel which can fluctuate because of geopolitical and seasonal factors. Core inflation is the figure economists focus on and is the level targeted by central banks, which are mandated to keep inflation at a manageable level, usually around 2%.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices of a basket of goods and services over a period of time. It is usually expressed as a percentage change on a month-on-month (MoM) and year-on-year (YoY) basis. Core CPI is the figure targeted by central banks as it excludes volatile food and fuel inputs. When Core CPI rises above 2% it usually results in higher interest rates and vice versa when it falls below 2%. Since higher interest rates are positive for a currency, higher inflation usually results in a stronger currency. The opposite is true when inflation falls.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, high inflation in a country pushes up the value of its currency and vice versa for lower inflation. This is because the central bank will normally raise interest rates to combat the higher inflation, which attract more global capital inflows from investors looking for a lucrative place to park their money.

Formerly, Gold was the asset investors turned to in times of high inflation because it preserved its value, and whilst investors will often still buy Gold for its safe-haven properties in times of extreme market turmoil, this is not the case most of the time. This is because when inflation is high, central banks will put up interest rates to combat it. Higher interest rates are negative for Gold because they increase the opportunity-cost of holding Gold vis-a-vis an interest-bearing asset or placing the money in a cash deposit account. On the flipside, lower inflation tends to be positive for Gold as it brings interest rates down, making the bright metal a more viable investment alternative.

 

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