U.K. inflation fell by more than expected to its lowest level since September 2021 in February, with a further easing of food prices leading the way.

The consumer price index rose by 0.6 percent from January and was up 3.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Office for National Statistics data released on Wednesday, fractionally below consensus forecasts for 0.7 and 3.5 percent respectively. Inflation had been running around 4 percent, twice the Bank of England’s target, for three months before that.

The news is a bonus for the Bank of England but it is unlikely by itself to prompt any cut in interest rates when the Monetary Policy Committee announces its decisions on Thursday.

It’s also a welcome development for the U.K. government, which badly needs to put an end to a cost-of-living crisis before facing the voters later this year.

However, the figures weren’t all good. Services inflation, which has taken over from food and energy as the driver of the headline rate, only eased marginally to 6.0 percent from 6.1. Various top officials at the bank have warned that this is likely to delay and slow the pace of rate cuts.

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