Official figures show that British consumer price inflation fell below the Bank of England's target for the first time in almost two years in June. Meanwhile, a broader price gauge fell at a record pace.
The Office for National Statistics said consumer prices rose 0.3% on the month in June, taking the annual rate to 1.8%. This was the lowest since September 2007 and compared with 2.2% in May.
The broader measure of retail price inflation, which includes housing costs, fell at an annual rate of 1.6%, its sharpest drop since records began in 1948. The figures were broadly in line with analysts' forecasts.
Policymakers have been expecting inflation to ease markedly as a result of the recession, but before June, consumer price inflation had stayed above the Bank of England's 2% target since October 2007.
The biggest downward effect on the annual inflation rate in June came from food and non-alcoholic drink prices which fell last month but rose in the same month last year.
Meat, bread, fruit, vegetables and dairy products all contributed. There was also downward pressure from furniture prices which rose by less than last year.