Commenting on today’s publication of inflation data by the Office for National Statistics, Christian Spence, Head of Research and Policy at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:

“The latest data confirms our expectations of an increase in the headline rate of CPI inflation to 2.9%, up from 2.6% in July. All categories of goods contributed to the rise in August’s price data, and factory gate prices rose faster in August at 3.4% than the previous month, caused by higher oil and petroleum prices that have seen producer’s input costs rising 7.6% in the past year.

“We have long maintained that inflation will be the key economic story for 2017 and this continues. Whilst our expectations are that overall inflation is not likely to peak towards the end of 2017 at around 3% rather than our previous estimates of around 3.5% in early 2018, these increased costs are placing pressures on both businesses and consumers. Real-terms wages are now falling which is affecting the strength of the consumer economy and, whilst some exporters are benefitting from the weakness of Sterling to either grow their sales or improve their margins, overall the UK economy will suffer from the depreciations of Sterling as the higher costs of imported goods outweigh the advantages to overseas sales.

“Our current forecasts for UK GDP growth of 1.6% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018 will be revised alongside the results of our Quarterly Economic Survey at the end of September though, as we work through the revision process, our judgement is that the downside risks to the UK economy overall have increased over the past three months."

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About Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK, providing business support to approximately 4,500 members who collectively employ 446,000 people, around one-third of Greater Manchester’s workforce.

Recognised as a leader in its field, Greater Manchester Chamber’s reputation in government circles has grown locally and nationally. At the heart of the area of greatest economic intensity outside London and the South East, the Chamber is the primary body for business support, policy, representation and networking.
The Chamber is an independent, not-for-profit private company and its aim is to support businesses and help create the best climate for the region to prosper. This is achieved by ensuring that those taking decisions on key issues such as transport, taxation and business regulation hear the voice of our members. The representation of our members’ views is central to the work of the policy team at the Chamber; these views are gathered in a range of ways including our local councils, policy committees, sector councils, the main Chamber council, focus groups, meetings with politicians and consultations.

The Chamber also offers a range of networking forums across Greater Manchester, free as part of membership, plus a variety of other events and services designed to benefit specific sectors or individuals and help businesses to grow.