By Daniel Hunter

The rate of inflation remained above the Government’s 2% target in January as it stayed at 2.7% for the fourth month in a row.

This is the longest period for which the CPI (Consumer Price Index) growth has remained unchanged.

The Office for National Statistics said the largest upward pressures on prices came from alcohol and air fares. Miscellaneous goods & services and clothing provided the largest downward pressures.

Discounting in the clearance sales failed to offset the impact of the latest price hikes in other sectors.

The Bank of England has already warned it expects inflation to remain above the Government's 2% target, possibly for as long as the next two years.

But another missed inflation target is unlikely to spur the Bank of England into tighter monetary policy — higher rates or rolled back quantitative easing (QE), analysts believe.

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