THE UK crawled out of deflationary territory in November, the latest official figures have revealed.

However, at 0.1 per cent last month, annual UK consumer prices index (CPI) inflation was negligible. And the latest inflation figures did nothing to alter economists’ view that the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will be in no hurry to raise UK base rates from their record low of 0.5 per cent.

In October, there had been annual deflation of 0.1 per cent on the CPI measure.

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Annual CPI inflation has been stuck in the -0.1 per cent to 0.1 per cent range since February.

The Treasury has set the Bank of England a target of two per cent for annual CPI inflation.

The move out of deflationary territory arose partly from a smaller fall in petrol and diesel prices in November than in the same month of last year. And second-hand car prices rose last month, having fallen in November 2014.

Meanwhile, prices in the alcoholic beverages category fell by less in November than in the same month of last year.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight, said: “It looks like UK consumer prices will be flat overall in 2015 compared to 2014.”

Contemplating the outlook for inflation, Mr Archer said: “We doubt that the UK will see renewed year-on-year falls in consumer prices, although the current weakness in oil prices means that it cannot be ruled out. A deeper fall in producer prices in November highlights that there are still appreciable disinflationary pressures.

“Certainly, the current weakness in oil prices is increasing the likelihood that consumer price inflation will remain extremely low for longer.”

Excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, core annual CPI inflation edged up from 1.1 per cent in October to 1.2 per cent in November.

Mr Archer said: “The Bank of England will be relieved to see UK inflation returning to positive territory in November, although most MPC members will want to see core inflation firm before considering any interest rate hike. It is also evident that MPC members want to see a sustained pick-up in earnings growth before raising interest rates.”

He is sticking with his view that it is more likely than not that the MPC will raise benchmark interest rates by mid-2016, and he expects the first move in May.

However, he added: “We doubt interest rates will end 2016 any higher than one per cent, and it is far from inconceivable that the Bank of England may only raise interest rates once to 0.75 per cent during next year.

“Further out, we see the Bank of England only lifting interest rates to 1.75 per cent by end-2017 and 2.25 per cent by end-2018.”

Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at consultancy Capital Economics, said: “The latest consumer prices figures confirmed that the UK’s brief flirt with deflation came to an end in November. But price pressures look set to remain subdued for a long while yet. Accordingly, the MPC is in no rush to follow the Fed (US Federal Reserve) in hiking rates.”

Annual inflation on the old all-items retail prices index measure rose from 0.7 per cent in October to 1.1 per cent in November.