Official figures show that inflation in Britain unexpectedly held steady in March, with economists suggesting that Brexit uncertainty prompted retailers to keep prices lower than would otherwise have been the case.
"Higher retail sales contribute to a picture of the economy beginning to show more positive signs". Output prices rose 0.3% on the month for an annual gain of 2.4%. Against the euro, sterling extended its losses and hit the day's low of 86.81 pence, down 0.3 percent. Britain was due to leave the European Union on March 29 but it was postponed as Parliament failed to back Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.
The figures published by the ONS on Thursday covered the period from February 24 to March 30.
Year-on-year sales jumped 6.7 per cent - the largest rise since October 2016 - from last March, which was heavily affected by the Beast from the East.
All items inflation on year on year basis was highest in Kebbi (14.65%), Zamfara (13.15%) and Taraba (12.98%), while Kwara (9.84%) Cross River (9.66%) and Delta (9.61%) recorded the slowest rise in headline year on year inflation.
In monthly terms, sales rose for a third month in a row, by 1.1 percent.
"I think that sterling is a unsafe currency just purely because it runs a 4.5 percent current account deficit", veteran hedge fund manager Crispin Odey told Reuters.
Including bonuses, average weekly earnings for employees were estimated to have increased by 3.5%, before adjusting for inflation, and by 1.6%, after adjusting for inflation, compared with a year earlier.
Consumer spending has supported Britain's sluggish economy through the Brexit crisis, in contrast to businesses, which have cut back on investment.
'Wages are rising faster than they have for three years and now we find that inflation is holding steady'.
Economist said today's figures make the Bank of England's job somewhat easier, as there is no pressure to raise rates as it grapples with continued uncertainty over Brexit.
Last week, figures from the British Retail Consortium suggested shoppers had cut spending at high-street retailers for the first time in nearly a year in March.