Inflation in the UK increased to 3.5% during March, as upward pressures on inflation came from food, clothing and the recreation and culture sectors. The CPI (consumer price index) rate increased from 3.4% in February , while the RPI (retail price index) rate shrank to 3.6% from 3.7% in February.
Prices in the food and non-alcoholic beverages sector fell by 0.5% between February and March, a lower rate than recorded during the prior year period, while increased fruit, meat and bread and cereals prices impacted the sector. In the clothing and footwear sector overall prices rose by 2.2% between February and March, while a slower rate of decline in the recreation and culture sector also helped push inflation upwards.
The biggest downward pressures on inflation came from the housing and household services sector where prices fell by 0.2% overall and the transport sector.
source “http://www.fundweb.co.uk/1049808.article?cmpid=14002&email=true ”
The US Senate is to vote on a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit, one day after the House of Representatives backed it and hours before a deadline.
Monday’s vote in the House appears to have averted the prospect of the first full-scale US federal debt default.
Members of the 100-seat Senate will vote at midday (16:00 GMT) on Tuesday. If approved it will be signed into law by President Barac
The bill has the backing of Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and is thought likely to win the support of the 60 senators it needs to pass.
In the House on Monday evening the bill passed by a clear margin of 269 votes to 161.
Despite ongoing reservations about how the bill would fare with conservative members of the House, the bill won the backing of 175 Republicans, with 66 voting against.
Democrats were more evenly split – 95 for and 95 against.
The vote was notable for the reappearance in the House of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for the first time since she was shot in the head in Tuscon, Arizona in January.
Ms Giffords – who has undergone a number of operations – caught lawmakers by surprise when she appeared on the floor of the House on Monday evening.
There was a standing ovation and embraces for the Democratic representative, who voted in favour of raising the debt ceiling.
The deal ties a $2.4tn (£1.5tn) debt increase to spending cuts.
The Senate vote will take place barely 12 hours before Washington is due – according to the US treasury department – to cease to be able to meet all its bills.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King has hinted interest rates may rise in May, with further increases possible by the end of the year.
He says this prediction is based on bank rate increases “in line with market expectations”. Many experts have suggested a 0.5 per cent rise in rates is likely in May with further rises throughout the year.
King says three factors account for the current high level of inflation, including the January rise in VAT, the continuing consequences of the fall in sterling in late 2007 and 2008 and recent increases in commodity prices, particularly energy prices.
He says: “Although one cannot be sure, prices excluding the effects of these factors would probably have increased at a rate well below the 2 per cent inflation target.
“Inflation is likely to continue to pick up to somewhere between 4 per cent and 5 per cent over the next few months. That primarily reflects further pass through from recent increases in world commodity and energy prices.
“The MPC’s-central judgment, under the assumption that bank rate increases in line with market expectations, remains that, as the temporary effects of the factors listed above wane, inflation will fall back so that it is about as likely to be above the target as below it two to three years ahead.”
Last week, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee held base rate at 0.5 per cent for the twenty-third month in a row and held its quantitative easing programme at £200bn.