India's retail inflation jumps to 3.65% in March

Helping out A customer service representative stands in an aisle at a Tesco Extra supermarket in Watford north of London. Tesco Plc the UK supermarket leader said it would absorb some of the sterling-induced cost bump and keep prices low which could

UK households feel the pinch as real earnings almost stagnate

Official figures revealed that the consumer price index (CPI) measure of inflation stood at 2.3 per cent last month, in line with February's outcome after a sharp rise from January's reading of 1.8 per cent.

Both the March and February readings are the fastest rate since September 2014 and it's the second time that inflation has risen past the Bank of England's 2% target rate in more than three years.

Consumer prices last month increased by 2.3pc compared with the same month previous year, according to Office for National Statistics data.

The government target is four per cent plus-or-minus two percentage points for the next five years.

Tesco Plc, the United Kingdom supermarket leader, said it would absorb some of the sterling-induced cost bump and keep prices low, which could ramp up pressure on competitors to do the same.

Inflation has jumped in the past year because of the pound's decline since the Brexit vote and that, coupled with lackluster wage growth, is eating into the spending power of consumers, the engine of the economy. Costs for health care, housing, transportation and communication all were seen rising.

The figures mean that many people's take home pay is going up by less than price increases for essentials like food and clothes.

'While the National Living Wage is protecting the lowest earners from this squeeze, boosting wages across the rest of the economy is the big living standards challenge of this parliament'.

"The IIP data clearly shows the fragile nature of industrial and manufacturing growth which has been languishing consecutively for several years now", said Sunil Kumar Sinha, Principal Economist, India Ratings and Research. The U.K.'s economic growth relies heavily on domestic demand, which is likely to falter as Britons' wages struggle to keep up with price increases.

In the East of England, a near record 3.03m people were in work and the unemployment rate dropped by 0.3% to 4.3% in the three-month period - well below the national rate of 4.7%.

"Today's figures are a stark reminder of the reality - rising living costs, debts, a sharp decrease in consumer spending and growing risk of stagflation".

It marks temporary respite from climbing prices following the post-Brexit collapse of the pound, but economists say that a late Easter is responsible for the pause.

It said unemployment had fallen to its lowest level in a decade - down 45,000 in the three months to February to 1.56 million - with the jobless rate remaining at 4.7% and a record number of job vacancies on offer.

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