U.K. inflation surged to the fastest pace in nearly five years last month, according to data published Tuesday, as the pound's post-Brexit vote collapse continues to drive import prices higher.

Consumer prices rose at a 2.9% clip in May, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday, up from 2.7% in April and much faster than the 2.7% rate anticipated by economists. So-called core inflation, which strips out volatile prices for food and energy, rose at a 2.6% pace, the ONS said, the fastest since 2012.

The pound, which had risen around 0.3% against the U.S. dollar since yesterday's close was little-changed at 1.2708 following the data release, which is certain to raise questions over the Bank of England's tolerance for faster consumer price increases when matched against a slowing economy when it meets Thursday in London.

"As the Committee has previously noted, there are limits to the extent to which above-target inflation can be tolerated," the Bank said last month. "The continuing suitability of the current policy stance depends on the trade-off between above-target inflation and slack in the economy, as well as the prospects for inflation to return sustainably to target."

The pound has fallen some 11% against the U.S. dollar between May 2016 and last month as investors reacted to Britain's vote to leave the European Union last June and trimmed bets on further rate increases from the BoE as the economy slowed as a result. 

Consumer prices in the U.K. continue to rise.
Consumer prices in the U.K. continue to rise.

U.K. economic growth slowed more sharply than expected in the first three months of the year, according to a detailed estimate from the ONS published last month, as consumers trimmed discretionary spending amid searing inflation and increased political uncertainty linked to the country's decision to leave the European Union last June.

The U.K. economy, the world's fifth-largest, grew at a 0.2% clip in the three months ending in March, down from the so-called flash estimate of 0.3% published on April 28 and the 0.7% pace recorded in the final three months of last year. The ONS said the country's service sector led the slowdown with growth of 0.3% compared to 0.8% in the final three months of last year.

"Consumer facing industries such as retail and accommodation fell and household spending slowed," the ONS said. "This was partly due to rising prices. Construction and manufacturing also showed little growth, while business services & finance continued to grow strongly."

What's Hot on TheStreet

Respect the stock charts: Don't feel too relieved by volatile tech name Nvidia (NVDA - Get Report) finishing in the green on Monday after a violent selloff.

Nvidia underwent a "key reversal" on Friday that could send the stock plunging another 36%, BMO technical analyst Russ Visch said in a new note. Visch points out that normally, these pullbacks tend to lead to the stock falling back to its 200-day moving average. In the case of Nvidia, the 200-day moving average is $96.70, or $36% below Monday's closing price of $149.97. "Considerable downside risk exists here," said Visch.

On Friday, shares of Nvidia were off to another big rally, hitting new all-time highs of $168.50 following an analyst pontificating the stock could surge to $300. But the party abruptly ended Friday afternoon and continued into most of Monday's trading session. The reversal in one of the hottest tech stocks around spooked the market, pressuring shares of other high-flyers in the space such as Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and Apple (AAPL - Get Report) .

Apple and innovation: The reality of the here and now is that the public and would-be buyers of Apple's stock harbor greater doubts about Apple's ability to innovate than in many years, reports TheStreet. Apple did nothing to quiet those concerns by introducing its new voice activated speaker, sources explained to TheStreet.

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