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Consumer price index rises in UK

THE cost of living in Britain rose unexpectedly in February as higher prices for food and fuel and a weaker pound offset the deflationary effects of the economic crisis, official data showed yesterday.

The annual consumer price index rose to 3.2 percent from 3.0 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics said. Most analysts were expecting that rate to drop as weaker demand amid the economic crisis causes retailers to cut prices to attract shoppers.

Rising prices for food and drink, recreation and transport ?? mainly higher fuel costs ?? pushed the consumer price index higher after four consecutive months of falls. The government's policy is to hold price inflation at about 2 percent.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, said the lower value of sterling, which raised the price of imported goods and components, was a key factor in pushing consumer prices higher.


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