Poor economic figures yesterday revealed inflationary pressures are rising to levels not seen in nearly 20 years and new data due this morning are expected to show important parts of the economy are stagnating. Financial Times

In a further sign of mounting worries for the government and the Bank of England, confidence has hit rock bottom in the housing market, with 19 in every 20 estate agents reporting falling prices in April, according to a monthly survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors out today.

The British Retail Consortium says the annual growth of total spending in its members’ shops has fallen to its lowest rate for three years.

The gathering signs of economic slowdown came after the Office for National Statistics reported yesterday that the prices of manufactured goods rose 7.5% in the year to April, its fastest rate since at least 1986.