It is something that we are well used to in the euro zone by now, but yesterday it was confirmed that the rate of inflation in the UK had fallen to 0.5% in the year to December - its lowest level in 15 years.

Peter O'Flanagan, Head of Trading with Clear Treasury in London, explained that the outcome had triggered an automatic mechanism whereby the Governor of the Bank of England is required to write to the British Chancellor explaining the causation of the sharp fall and what would be down about it. "This is the first time since 2000 that such a letter was required," he stated.

Mr O'Flanagan said, however, that the low inflation scenario in the UK was not expected to be a long term issue. "It's not a broad-based drop. It's mainly down to lower energy prices feeding through the system but it will impact on interest rates. "This isn't just a UK problem. Deflation has set in in the euro zone. We've had low inflation in US and Japan have been suffering from this for 20 years."

Peter O'Flanagan said it looked like it would now be 2016 before rate increases come into play in the UK, despite predictions that it would happen in the first half of this year. "However, from an economic standpoint the economy is performing well. We're looking at 2.6% growth. Relative to the UK's counterparts, like the euro zone, where growth is at 1.2%, it's quite strong," he said. On the ECB meeting next week, he said the policy committee was likely to deploy a fairly large-scale QE programme similar to that in the US and the UK over the past few years.

***
MORNING BRIEFS - A three month public consultation process is being launched this morning by the Department of Finance on the proposed new knowledge development box. The scheme is a lower corporate tax rate that will apply to intellectual property and is expected to come into force next year. The rate could be as low as 5% similar to that in the Netherlands - in Britain, it is set at 10%.

*** Drinks group C&C has reported weaker than expected trading conditions in the Irish and British markets over the third quarter and Christmas period.  All of the company's markets experienced volumes declines. The group anticipates an operating profit for the full year of around €115m, lower than the previous year's results and also announced that it is to commence a share buyback scheme.

*** The World Bank has downgraded its forecast for global growth this year. It is citing stagnation in Europe and Japan and a slowdown in China. The Bank is pencilling in global growth of 3% this year, up from 2.6% in 2014. However in June of last year, World Bank economists were forecasting 3.4% global economic growth this year and 2.8% for 2014. Plunging oil prices, it believes, will help boost growth in the coming year, as well as stronger growth in the US.

*** Oil prices are continuing their journey southwards. They fell by more than 1% in early trade after touching their lowest level in nearly six years in yesterday's session.