UK inflation unexpectedly holds steady at 3 percent

Official figures show that inflation in Britain held steady at 3 percent in the year to October, just below the level that would have forced the governor of the Bank of England to write to the government explaining why prices are rising by more than a percentage point above target.

The reading Tuesday from the Office for National Statistics was unexpected. Most economists had predicted a modest increase to 3.1 percent, which would have prompted an exchange of letters between Bank Governor Mark Carney and Treasury chief Philip Hammond.

Earlier this month, the central bank raised its main interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.5 percent. That was its first increase in a decade and was due to the fact that inflation is above the 2 percent target.