New data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) released Tuesday showed that in the UK, annual inflation has surged to its highest levels in 18 years in May, even as the pace of food price growth slowed.

In May, supermarkets and retail chains saw prices surge by 9% year over year, up from 8.8% in April. It was the largest surge since records began being tracked by the BRC in 2005.

The BRC noted that food price inflation slowed slightly, slipping to 15.4%, down from an all-time high in April, at 15.7%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said, “While overall shop price inflation rose slightly in May, households will welcome food inflation beginning to fall. The slow in [food] inflation was largely driven by lower energy and commodity costs starting to filter through to lower prices of some staples including butter, milk, fruit and fish.”

Dickenson pointed out, “there is reason to believe that food inflation might be peaking,” but noted the government could make things worse “by piling more costs onto retailers and forcing up the cost of goods even further.”

She added, “The biggest risk comes from policies such as the incoming border checks and reforms to packaging recycling fees.”

Earlier this month the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released data showing that overall UK inflation in April fell below 10% for the first time since August of last year, hitting 8.7% year over year.

Regardless, British inflation continues to be the second highest in western Europe. The office reported that underlying inflationary pressures remain strong, with core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, increasing at the fastest rate since 1992, climbing 6.8%.

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