UK inflation rose less than expected in March, after a dip in milk and dairy goods prices and a fall in the cost of air fares, official data has shown.
Milk and dairy goods have seen a drop in prices
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the official inflation rate, rose 1.8% last month, down from February's 2% growth.
This puts inflation at its slowest pace in more than a year, and below the Bank of England's 2% target.
The rate of headline RPI - which includes mortgage interest payments - remained unchanged at 2.4%.
Supermarket price war
Thursday's figures came as a surprise to economists, who had predicted that the CPI rate would either remain at 2% or drop to 1.9%.
The unexpectedly large fall in inflation is likely to increase calls for the Bank of England to reduce interest rates.
Rates are currently on hold at 4.5% for the eighth month in a row.
Milk prices fell by an average of 2p per pint in March after a supermarket price war, while air fares declined for the third month in a row.
The biggest upward pressure on inflation came from housing and household services, as gas and electricity bills soared.
Petrol prices were little changed.