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RETAIL PRICES INDEX MARCH 1996

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The all items retail prices index (RPI) rose by 0.4% over the month to stand at 151.5 in March. ...
The all items retail prices index (RPI) rose by 0.4% over the month to stand at 151.5 in March.

In the 12 months to March, the all items RPI rose by 2.7%, the same as the increase over the 12 months to February. The 12-month rate of change for the all items excluding mortgage interest payments was 2.9%, also unchanged from February.

These were upward pressures on the 12-month rate from housing costs (rising house prices), seasonal; food prices and leisure goods prices. The main downward effect came from motoring costs, in particular a further drop in petrol prices.

All items excluding housing

The all items excluding housing index is currently recommended for making international comparisons. Work is being undertaken on the construction of harmonised consumer price indices which will in future provide a better basis for comparison across the EC.

All items excluding mortgage interest payments and indirect taxes (RPIY).

This series excludes council tax, VAT, excise duties, vehicle excise duties, car purchase tax, insurance premium tax and air passenger duty as well as mortgage interest payments and is useful as an additional tool for analysing inflation trends. This series was previously published by the Bank of England quarterly under the name RPIX. The ONS produces these figures monthly, improving the calculation by applying adjustments at a lower level of aggregation.

Housing

The upward effect was due principally to a rise in house prices. There was continuing downward pressure from the mortgage interest component because of further interest rate cuts. This was in contrast to a slight increase in March.

Household goods

Furniture prices rose more steeply than last year. This upward effect was partially offset by falls in household detergent prices.

Personal goods and services

Price increases for some personal articles were much smaller than last year.

Motoring expenditure

The main downward effect came from the continuing petrol price war between retailers, which contrasted with price increases in March last year. In addition, motor vehicle prices rose less sharply than last March.

Leisure goods

There were widespread price increases for CDs, tapes and videos. A number of price increases for gardening products.

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