London March 22 2023: British inflation unexpectedly rose to 10.4% in February, pushed up by higher food prices and pricier drinks in pubs and restaurants, official data showed on Wednesday, a day before the Bank of England announces its latest interest rate decision.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast that the annual CPI rate would drop to 9.9% in February from January's 10.1% and move further away from October's 41-year high of 11.1%.
The BoE is due to announce on Thursday whether it has raised interest rates for an 11th meeting in a row.
Investors are split on whether it will pause its run of increases in borrowing costs because of the recent upheaval in the global banking sector.
"Given the market movements of late, this puts the Bank of England in an incredibly difficult position as it may not be enough for the Bank of England to press pause on the rate hikes," Richard Carter, head of fixed interest research at Quilter Cheviot, said.