The rate of UK consumer price inflation remained unchanged at 2.7% for the fourth consecutive month in January, official data has shown. A big rise in the prices of alcohol and tobacco was the biggest factor driving prices up, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
At the same time, there were slower price rises for clothing and footwear. The rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation rose to 3.3% in January from 3.1% in December. The ONS said the CPI rate had now remained unchanged for the longest period since records began in 1996.
Analysts had forecast a slight rise in CPI to 2.8%.
Alcohol and tobacco prices were up 8.5% on the year, but were also up 4.3% from December, as pre-Christmas discounts came to an end. However, clothing and footwear prices rose just 0.2% on the year and fell 5.4% on the month as January sales kicked in. Prices in the miscellaneous goods and services category, which includes personal care products such as toothbrushes as well as things like money transfer fees, fell 0.7% from December.
Looking ahead, Phil Gooding from the ONS told the BBC that there were factors pulling prices in both directions.