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Food inflation at five-year high but ‘Brexit could push prices up’

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Global commodity prices and weather events pushed food inflation to a five-and-a-half-year high last month, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Last year’s bad weather increased the cost of a number of UK crops, such as onions, potatoes, and cabbage, while global cereal prices increased, which pushed bread prices up.

Food inflation rose 2.5% in March, up from 1.6% in February. This is the highest inflation rate recorded since November 2013.

Overall, shop price inflation rose to 0.9%, up from 0.7% the previous month,

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “March saw shop price inflation rise to its highest level in six years, driven primarily by a sharp spike in non-perishable food inflation.

“Nonetheless, the bigger threat to food inflation remains the risks of a chaotic no deal Brexit, which would lead to higher prices and less choice on the shelves. In order to avoid this scenario, parliamentarians from all parties must find a compromise that can command a majority in the House of Commons.”

Non-food prices were at the same level as March 2018. In February, they were 0.2% higher than the previous year.

Technological developments within the clothing and electrical sectors has caused prices for these goods to be on a downward trend over the past few years.

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