This is the highest rate since July 2014, when it was also 1.6%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Analysts had predicted consumer price inflation (CPI) would rise to 1.4% last month.
The weakening pound appears to be the major contributor towards higher prices.
Sterling has been sliding since last June’s EU referendum result and dipped below the $1.20 mark on Monday ahead of prime minster Theresa May’s speech today, which is expected to signal a ‘hard’ Brexit.
“We could see sterling fall even further in the lead up to the prime minister pulling the trigger on Article 50. This will translate into further inflation in the short term,” said Tom Stevenson of Fidelity International.
“Indeed, some of Britain’s biggest retailers have already warned that they may have to raise prices as they are forced to pass on higher costs of importing goods from abroad to customers.”