UK CPI inflation has been sticky in recent months. Inflation has been above target since December 2009 (Reuters)
UK consumer price inflation rose to 2.8 percent in February, reported the Office for National Statistics, a nine-month high driven by rising energy costs.
It is up from January's four consecutive monthly reading of 2.7 percent.
"The largest upward contributions to the change in the rate came from the expected increases in many gas and electricity bills and from price changes for some recreational goods, motor fuels and air transport," said the ONS.
"The largest downward contributions came from smaller price increases for food and soft drinks than a year ago and price falls for alcohol compared with price rises a year ago."
CPIH, the new measure of consumer price inflation including owner occupiers' housing costs, grew by 2.6 percent in the year to February, up from January's 2.5 percent, added the ONS.
Inflation has been underpinned in recent months by volatile commodity prices, one-off factors such as rising tuition fees which contribute to the headline number, and central bank stimulus.
A recent YouGov/Citi survey found that Britons expect inflation to hit 3.5 percent in the longer-term.
Sterling looks set to be weakened further by the Bank of England's (BoE) policymakers.
At a recent Treasury select committee hearing, monetary policy committee (MPC) members told MPs to expect more quantitative easing (QE) as they try to keep the troubled British economy afloat.
"Nobody on the committee thinks that QE has reached the end of the road and that it's not a useful instrument anymore," Paul Tucker, a deputy governor at the BoE, said.
"We stand prepared to do more, if we judge that necessary."
The current total of the BoE's quantitative easing programme, known as the asset purchase facility, is £375bn. Most economists anticipate a further £50bn in the coming months.
Under the programme, the BoE buys up gilts in order to improve liquidity in the markets, hold down the government's borrowing costs, and drive investors towards higher yielding and riskier assets.
There is a debate about the BoE's monetary policy mandate. Policymakers have said they have flexibility in their inflation targeting regime, in which they are mandated to bring inflation to the government's 2 percent target in the medium-term.
However, recent economic turmoil and extraordinary monetary policy has meant the BoE has not hit this target since December 2009.
Some have suggested that the BoE should be given a nominal GDP target instead, though incoming governor Mark Carney, who will become head of the central bank in June, has said he is not a fan of this framework.
Carney said he prefers flexible inflation targeting.
Chancellor George Osborne sets out the BoE's monetary policy framework each year in his budget. Some are speculating that he may explicitly give the BoE a flexible inflation target, effectively giving the green light to even looser monetary policy in the future.
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail: