A graphic, published by the Bank of England, showing inflation breaking through its two per cent target next year and continuing on upwards appeared to indicate that interest rates are heading higher in the coming months.
But the Bank's Governor Mervyn King played down this interpretation, highlighting risks to this central projection in the Bank's latest quarterly Inflation Report.
He insisted these are, at least, as important as the projection itself.
"The balance of risks to that central projection is judged to be a little on the downside," he said.
"Since the future is highly unlikely to turn out exactly as in the central projection, attention should be focused on the forecast as a whole - both the central projection and the risks."
While inflation has picked up since the Bank's last report in November, so have prospects for economic growth.
It made no mention of the CBI's industrial trends survey showing a sharp fall in manufacturing orders and confidence this winter, affecting the West Midlands more severely than any other region.
The Bank said yesterday it expects a slight slowdown in growth this spring to give way to a marked recovery to nearly three per cent a year in the summer, followed by gentle rise in 2006 and beyond.
"Today's projection is for growth to be robust," Mr King said.
Uncertainties about consumer spending represented the chief risk to the Bank's view of both inflation and growth.
Incomes are growing strongly, unemployment is stable at its lowest level for 30 years, financial wealth has risen, but retail sales fell in December and business surveys indicate weakness.
"It is much too soon to draw any conclusions about the pace of consumer spending and the link to house prices," Mr King declared.
Yet the chief risk that the Bank may have under estimated inflation is that earnings could take off in a tight labour market.
So far there is no sign of that and wage pressures have remained subdued, the Bank's report noted. On balance, it thinks the risks to its projection are "somewhat on the downside' - that is the estimates are more likely to be on the high side - probably not requiring higher interest rates.
Asked whether risks of a house-price crash are growing, Mr King said house prices have been broadly flat since November, adding that it is a mistake to draw strong conclusions from month-to-month movements.
The Bank would respond to developments as they occur.
Lower import prices have tended to offset the higher prices of British goods, but that this phenomenon is becoming less true over recent months, Mr King noted.
"There is inevitably great uncertainty over the future course of import prices," he said.