Belfast Telegraph

Surprise inflation figure dip eases pressure on consumers

By David Elliott

The pressure on Northern Ireland's hard pressed consumers, as well as on officials at the Bank of England, eased slightly last month as inflation unexpectedly fell.

The consumer price index, a measure of the price of an average basket of goods and services bought by consumers, fell to 2.2% in October from 2.7% in September, surprising economists and supressing calls for an interest rate hike by the central bank.

The news came amid the release of data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which said the average price of a house in Northern Ireland fell by 1.5% in September on a year-on-year basis.

But while both sets of data ran against expectations, it's unlikely the recent trend has been broken, according to Richard Ramsey, Northern Ireland economist at Ulster Bank.

He urged caution before reading too much into one month's data and pointed to the fact that recent increases in energy prices have yet to be factored into the inflation figures.

John Minnis, director, John Minnis Estate Agents said he's experienced an uplift in property business recently.

"On the whole, this does not reflect what we are experiencing; in the areas that we sell in, namely South and East Belfast, North Down and the Ards Peninsula, generally prices have increased and sales are very much up (compared to the same period last year). We have numerous examples of price rises in certain properties."

Belfast Telegraph