Inflation rose to a higher-than-expected 0.6 per cent last month as the increasing cost of motor fuels and second-hand cars drove up transport prices.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation in July was up from 0.5 per cent in June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Economists were expecting the figure to be unchanged.
But while there was no sign of the plunge in the value of the pound having an impact on CPI, the ONS said the Producer Prices Index (PPI) showed the slump in sterling following the Brexit vote had pushed up the cost of imports for British manufacturers.
Input prices rose 4.3 per cent in the year to July, compared with a drop of 0.5 per cent in the year to June, as it was partly impacted by the fall in the value of the pound, which drove up the cost of imported metals and chemicals.
Mike Prestwood, head of prices at ONS, said: “The Consumer Prices Index has continued in July its recent slow upward trend since late 2015, with transport costs the biggest single factor this month.
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“There is no obvious impact on today’s consumer prices figures following the EU referendum result, though thePPI suggests the fall in the exchange rate is beginning to push up import prices faced by manufacturers.
“These are the first sets of consumer and producer prices data collected since the referendum polling day.”
The ONS said CPI was impacted by transport costs rising by 1.6 per cent between June and July this year, compared with a 1.2 per cent increase over the same period a year ago, while the prices of second-hand cars fell less than they did a year ago.
It added that alcoholic drinks also stepped up 0.5 per cent month on month in July, compared with a fall a year ago.
Meanwhile, food and non-alcoholic drinks fell 0.2 per cent between June and July, which is less than the 0.7 per cent drop last year.
However, downward pressure on CPI came from the price of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which was unchanged over the period after rising by 0.3 per cent last year.
The price of petrol rose from 111p in June to 111.8p a litre in July, while the cost of diesel, climbed from 112.1p to 113p a litre over the period.
The ONS said the Retail Prices Index – which includes housing costs – rose to 1.9 per cent in July, up from 1.6 per cent in June.