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UK Inflation Steady In March

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UK consumer price inflation was unchanged in March, defying expectations for a modest acceleration, preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Wednesday.

The consumer price index rose 1.9 percent year-on-year, same as in February. Economists had expected inflation of 2 percent.

The core inflation rate was also unchanged in March, at 1.8 percent. Economists were looking for 1.9 percent price growth.

Inflation based on the CPI including owner occupiers' housing costs, or CPIH, was steady at 1.8 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, the CPI rose 0.2 percent in March, in line with economists' expectations.

Rising prices for motor fuels and clothing produced the largest upward contributions to inflation in March, the ONS said.

By contrast, the largest, offsetting, downward contributions came from across a range of recreational and cultural goods, food and motor vehicles, the agency added.

"Inflation is stable, with motor fuel prices rising between February and March this year, offset by falls in food prices as well as the cost of computer games growing more slowly than it did at this time last year," ONS Head of Inflation Mike Hardie said.

The ONS also reported that input price inflation slowed to 3.7 percent in March from a revised 4 percent in February. Economists had forecast inflation of 4.1 percent.

Output price inflation was 2.4 percent, unchanged from February. Economists were looking for 2.2 percent growth.

Meanwhile, house price inflation eased sharply to 0.6 percent in February, which was the lowest rate since September 2012. This was mainly due to a continued slowdown in London, the South East and the East of England, the ONS said.

"Growth in Wales and the west of England was offset by a sustained fall in London and falling prices in the South East for the first time since 2011," Hardie said.

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