Data published earlier on Wednesday showed the consumer price index rose by 8.7% in annual terms in April, down from 10.1% in March and a peak of 11.1% last October but higher than expected by economists polled by Reuters.
It left Britain with the joint highest inflation rate among Group of Seven advanced economies along with Italy.
Bailey, speaking at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal, said the fall was welcome but the BoE had to focus on food prices – which were up 19% over the 12 months to April – and core inflation which rose.
While inflation expectations were falling and companies were sending signals that they intended to slow their price increases, there were risks that inflation falls only slowly from now on, he said.
“The question for us is how…sticky and stubborn is this sort of process down and bear in mind we’ve got a very tight labour market in this country,” Bailey said.
Asked if Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was on target to halve inflation this year, as he has promised voters, Bailey said it was too soon to say. “I think we’re going to have to see how the news and the evidence unfolds,” he said.
Bailey reiterated the BoE’s message of recent months that it is watching the economic data when making decisions on interest rates, having signalled previously that it was likely to keep on raising borrowing costs.
“Our commitment is absolute that we will bring inflation back down to target,” he said.