15 Feb '11, 2pm

Inflation soars in Europe, China

LONDON - Britain's annual inflation rate hit a two-year high in January, official data showed Tuesday, as China and Spain also announced soaring consumer prices as a result of surging food and oil costs. Analysts said higher prices would put pressure on central banks to raise interest rates although they will be cautious not to overdo it given the need to preserve and bolster economic recovery. British consumer price index (CPI) inflation jumped to 4.0 percent, the highest level since November 2008. That followed 3.7 percent in December but undershot market expectations of 4.2 percent. The Office for National Statistics blamed the combined impact of soaring oil prices, which blasted their way past US$100 a barrel at the end of January, and a recent hike in the level of Britain's VAT sales tax. Inflation is now double the Bank of England's target rate of 2.0 percent, stokin...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_bu...

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