Only on Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund issued a “premature celebration” warning in an otherwise positive assessment of the UK economy due to significant drops in the primary inflation rate.
Here, there are two distinct inflationary processes at work.
The introductory rate is decreasing, perhaps more slowly than was predicted, but below 10%.
This will persist and is the mechanical result of the sharp increases in energy prices that were factored into the equation one year ago.
The bigger worry is how deeply inflation is permeating the economy and will continue to do so for some time to come, even as energy prices stabilize.
The fact that measures of core inflation and services inflation increased in the data released on Wednesday provides some support for such.
Because mobile phone bills are based on current interest rates, they increased by double-digit sums in April, for instance.
Possible delayed effects of prior increases in energy prices can be seen in food price increases.
Some double-digit salary increases in occupations with a labour shortage could keep prices high.
The tenacity or stickiness of inflation is a global phenomenon, which is not surprising in light of two recent shocks that increased the price of gas and oil and disrupted global supply chains: the Covid epidemic and Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.
In the past, double-digit inflation has typically taken two to three years to resolve itself rather than in just weeks or months.
However, the data make one wonder if inflation in the UK is more persistent and sticky than elsewhere.
Inflation in the UK is more significant than in France, Germany, and the US, at 8.7%. The UK now has the most influential food inflation and the highest core inflation among the G7 countries.
Certain scheduling discrepancies regarding energy support measures may contribute to the UK inflation premium.
However, several Bank of England employees have cited that European companies no longer fiercely compete with British producers on prices.
It could indicate a greater propensity for prices skyrocketing to drop like a feather.
It is “hazardous to make international comparisons when things are changing so rapidly,” according to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
“A few months ago, everyone predicted that our economy would expand at the slowest rate among the G7; today, we’re almost certain to grow faster than that. So, we are in the dark,” Mr Hunt added.
The hope and presumption at the top of government is that the UK’s economy is doing better than the statistics indicate, which would result in higher inflation.
That’s acceptable up to a degree.
But it causes the Bank of England, which appears destined to hike interest rates closer to 5%, a protracted difficulty when trying to contain those pricing pressures.