A dip in the price of petrol last month lowered the rate of year-on-year inflation for the first time since September last year.
Overall, prices rose by less than 0.1 per cent between September and October, so that Chancellor Gordon Brown's chosen preferred measure of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index, eased back to 2.3 per cent for the 12 months to October from September's 2.5 per cent.
That still left it materially above the Bank of England's 2.0 per cent inflation target for the fifth month running.
The Bank is due to give its detailed view of prospects for inflation and the economy generally this morning in its quarterly Inflation Report.
This month's break in the steady quickening in inflation over the past year is seen as taking some of the immediate pressure off the Bank to keep interest rates relatively high.
But few economists expect a clear-cut pointer from today's report.
Pump prices for ultra-low sulphur petrol dipped by an average of 1.3p a litre last month, which stood against a 1.8p increase in October last year, National Statistics said.
That was partly offset by air fares, which fell much less than in October last year. They have now risen by 13.9 per cent over 12 months.
Yesterday the price of crude oil continued its slow retreat from its late-summer peak over $70 a barrel. Brent crude lost another 28p to $54.45, its lowest price since July.
The Retail Prices Index, used as a starting point by many wage bargainers and as the basis for the state pension and other benefits, showed inflation down to 2.5 per cent from 2.7 per cent. It was last lower in October, 2002.
House prices, included in the RPI, but not the CPI, rose by less than last October.
The RPI leaving out mortgage interest - the basis of the Bank's previous 2.5 per cent inflation target - showed inflation slipping to 2.4 per cent over the latest year from 2.5 per cent in September.
Both indices showed prices for goods, as opposed to services rising more slowly. The RPI's annual rate came back to 0.9 per cent from 1.1 per cent in September. While the CPI put the increase at 0.6 per cent from 0.7 per cent.
For services, the RPI's measure rose from 3.9 per cent to 4.1 per cent - it was last higher in July, 2003, while the CPI moved in the opposite direction, dipping to 4.4 per cent from 4.5 per cent. n Firms have become more pessimistic about employment prospects in the next few months, but were keen to recruit workers from Eastern Europe, according to a new report today.
A survey of 1,000 employers found that job prospects had fallen to their lowest level for two years, said the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Only one in three of those polled said they expected their staff numbers to increase by the start of the New Year.
A quarter of employers said they planned to hire migrant workers this winter, especially those in London and in the public sector.
The survey, published ahead of new unemployment figures, showed that firms were more keen to recruit workers from EU accession countries.
John Philpott, the CIPD's chief economist, said: "The influx of Eastern European migrant workers shows no sign of waning and probably explains why the unemployment claimant count of people on Jobseekers Allowance has increased this year paradoxically alongside an increase in employment.
"The survey shows that UK employers are recruiting migrant workers primarily for their skills and experience and not for cost-cutting reasons," he added.
"The survey also reveals that UK employers rate migrant workers relatively highly compared with other job seekers such as the long-term unemployed and people on Incapacity Benefit."
The CIPD said employment prospects for the next three months had fallen to their lowest level since its survey began two years ago.