The Consumer Price Index – the government’s measure of annual inflation – fell to 2.5% in May from 2.8% in April.
The main downward pressure on the CPI annual rate came from average gas and electricity bills which continued to fall this year, but rose a year ago.
The main upward pressure on the CPI annual rate came from transport, with large price increases in the cost of air travel, particularly for transatlantic and European routes.
There was downward pressure from food and non-alcoholic beverages.
A further large downward effect came from clothing and footwear, with the main downward contributions coming from jeans and women’s skirts. Small downward effects also came from underwear and clothing accessories.
The retail price index inflation fell to 4.3% in May, down from 4.5% in April and was influenced by similar factors to those that affected the CPI.
Mortgage interest payments, which are excluded from the CPI, had a small upward contribution to the change in the RPI annual rate, with some lenders passing on this May’s quarter point increase in the Bank Rate.
As an internationally comparable measure of inflation, the CPI shows that the UK inflation rate is above average for the European Union as a whole.
The provisional inflation rate for the EU 27 in April was 2.2%, compared with the UK rate of 2.8% for the corresponding period.
The government’s inflation target is 2%.