Input prices also rose, hitting an annual rate of 14.6 per cent, suggesting that pipeline inflation pressures are continuing to build.
While the figures were broadly in line with what economists had been expecting, they are certain to worry the Bank of England at a time when consumer price inflation is already double its 2 per cent target. On Thursday, the bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) voted to hold interest rates at their historic low of 0.5 per cent though most commentators are pencilling in a rise by May.
A 33.5 per cent annual jump in oil input prices was the chief contributor to the rise in manufacturers’ cost base. Food, imported metals and chemicals also exerted strong upward pressure.
On the month, crude oil contributed more than three-quarters of the total rise in firms’ input prices.