Commenting on today’s release of Consumer Prices data by the Office for National Statistics, Christian Spence, head of research and policy at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Today’s data shows that the headline rate of inflation in July remains at 2.6%, the same as in June. However, this level has been maintained almost entirely because of five continuous months of falling fuel prices, whilst other areas of the economy, such as food and clothing, continue to see strong increases in inflation as the weakness of Sterling continues to pass through into the consumer market.
“These inflationary pressures are also seen in a small increase in the rate of RPI inflation, from 3.5% to 3.6%, and is significant this month, as this will be used to set the average rail fare increase in the UK in January 2018.

“Recent evidence from the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey suggests that companies continue to feel under pressure from inflation and from the changes in levels of Sterling. Whilst some exporters can capitalise on this depreciation, it is not a silver bullet for either the UK’s net trade position or for the economy overall. Our expectations are that inflation will peak close to 3% in late 2017 or early 2018 meaning that real wages and household incomes are likely to continue to be eroded for some time yet. This places a downward risk on our expectations for overall growth for the rest of this year and into next. Our current forecasts are for UK GDP growth of 1.6% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018, though we expect Greater Manchester’s economy to grow by around 3.25% this year.”

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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.