LONDON (AP) -- Britain's hard-pressed manufacturers saw their input prices, such as raw material costs, fall by the largest amount in nearly seven years during April as cheaper energy offset the impact of the lower pound, official figures showed Friday.
The Office for National Statistics said input prices fell by 1 percent in April from the previous month, taking the annual rate of decline down to 5 percent. The biggest contributor to the fall was an 8.2 percent monthly decline in fuel prices.
The annual decline was bigger than market expectations of a 3.5 percent decline and was the sharpest fall since July 2002.
Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics, said the figures provided further confirmation that falling commodity prices have more than offset the impact of the drop in the pound, which all things being equal, makes import costs more expensive.
Elsewhere, the statistics office said the prices of goods leaving the factory gate rose by a monthly 0.6 percent, though that was largely related to tax increases the British government announced in its budget. On an annual basis, output prices were 1.2 percent higher, the lowest since April 2004.
Friday's figures come just days ahead of the Bank of England's latest quarterly economic projections. Analysts said the producer price data provides further confirmation that inflationary pressures in Britain remain muted.