Así lo publica el NY Times:
Continued Inflation Is Called Temporary
By JULIA WERDIGIER
Published: August 17, 2010
LONDON — Consumer-price inflation in Britain remained above the government’s limit in July, according to data released on Tuesday, forcing the head of the Bank of England to send his third letter this year to the Treasury to explain why inflation missed the target.
Inflation in Britain slowed slightly last month, to an annual rate of 3.1 percent from 3.2 percent in June, the Office for National Statistics said. But the rate was still more than one percentage point above the government’s 2 percent target.
In his letter, Mervyn A. King, governor of the Bank of England, said that the central bank’s monetary policy committee was surprised by the recent strength of inflation. But he also reiterated that such inflation levels were expected to be temporary.
Factors like higher oil prices would “prove to have a temporary impact on inflation, and are masking the downward pressure on inflation” from slow economic growth, Mr. King wrote in the letter.
Some economists agreed with that assessment. “Inflation is likely to hover close to 3 percent for the next few months, with the Russian wheat crisis putting upward pressure on food prices,” Andrew Goodwin, an economist at Ernst & Young in London, said. “But these are all temporary factors, and underlying price pressures remain weak.”
Policy makers continue to disagree about the cause of a persistently high rate of recent consumer price increases even during the recession. Mr. King had attributed it to changes to the sales tax and the delayed effects of higher oil prices and a lower pound, which made imports more expensive. Others said consumer demand had not dropped as much as anticipated, given that employment has been somewhat stronger than expected.
Whatever the causes, British inflation figures remain above those in the 16 countries that use the euro, where higher energy prices drove euro zone inflation to an annual rate of 1.7 percent in July. That was the highest level in 20 months, but still within the range considered acceptable by the European Central Bank.
Mr. King reiterated that he expected Britain’s inflation rate to remain above the 2 percent target until the end of 2011 before falling below it. Inflation above the government target makes it more challenging for the Bank of England to set interest rates, which remain at a record low of 0.5 percent. But many economists expect the central bank to keep the rates unchanged for a while so as not to jeopardize the fragile economic recovery.
House prices across Britain had been rising until recently, helped by low mortgage rates and foreign buyers lured by an attractive exchange rate. But the market is now showing signs of weakness as more people put their homes up for sale to benefit from the higher prices.
At the same time, many households and businesses are still heavily dependent on credit, and the government is preparing for billions of pounds of spending cuts. Raising rates now would squeeze consumers at a time when the economic recovery is already weakened, some economists said.
“Assuming the government tightens fiscal policy as planned, we expect the bank rate to remain at 0.5 percent for several years,” Mr. Goodwin said.
A version of this article appeared in print on August 18, 2010, on page B2 of the New York edition.