UK inflation posts sharp rise

UK - UK inflation has soared unexpectedly, making an increase in interest rates in March more likely.

The annual rate of inflation excluding mortgage repayments jumped to 2.6% in January, up sharply from 1.9% in December, the Office for National Statistics said.

The latest figure means that UK inflation has edged into the upper end of the government's annual target rate of 1.5-3.5% for only the second time since April 1999.

Most analysts had predicted a January inflation rate of just 2.2%.