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US inflation plummets into negative territory

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US consumer prices fell by 0.1 per cent last month, leaving them down 0.4 per cent from a year earlier, as weakening consumer demand drove steep drops in food and fuel costs.

According to The Times, economists fear the US is perilously close to tipping into a "destructive bout of Japanese-style deflation… which sucked the lifeblood from its economy for more than a decade."

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, there’s more bad news for the high street. The British Retail Consortium has reported that UK retail sales fell in March compared with a year earlier, with luxury items taking the biggest hit.

"Customers are still worried about jobs and their own finances, so they are keeping spending under tight control," says Stephen Robertson, director general of the consortium.

Glimmers of hope came from the non-food internet, phone and mail-order sectors, which saw sales jump by 10.8 per cent.

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