The UK’s annual inflation rate was 1.6% in December, up from 1.2% in November and the highest rate since July 2014.
Higher food and air fares helped to increase December’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI), the Office for National Statistics said.
The rise was bigger than expected, with economists predicting a rate of 1.4%.
The fall in sterling since the Brexit vote was starting to feed into the economy, said the BBC’s economics editor, Kamal Ahmed.
“This is the highest CPI has been for over two years, though the annual rate remains below the Bank of England’s target and low by historical standards,” said ONS head of inflation Mike Prestwood.
“Rising air fares and food prices, along with petrol prices falling less than last December, all helped to push up the rate of inflation.
“Rising raw material costs also continued to push up the prices of goods leaving factories.”
Separate figures for the Producer Price Index (PPI) showed that the price of goods bought from factories rose 2.7% in December compared with a year ago, as manufacturers started to pass through higher input costs following the fall in the pound.
Consumer inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rose to 2.5% in December from 2.2% the previous month.
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