British inflation hits two-and-half-year high

British annual inflation picked up to its highest level in two and a half years in January, driven by rising fuel and food prices, official data showed Tuesday.

The 12-month inflation rate hit 1.8 percent last month compared with 1.6 percent in December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Analysts' consensus forecast had been for a jump to 1.9 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Nevertheless, the January reading was the highest level since June 2014.

"The main contributors to the increase in the rate were rising prices for motor fuels and to a lesser extent food prices," the ONS said.

"These upward pressures were partially offset by prices for clothing and footwear, which fell by more than they did a year ago," it added.

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