U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in February

14 March, 2019, 16:34 | Author: Regina Silva
  • U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in February

Excluding the volatile energy and food categories, core prices increased 0.1 percent in February and 2.1 percent from a year ago.

India's factory growth dragged while retail inflation saw an uptick in the data released on Tuesday.

Consumer price inflation for the rural areas stood at 1.81 per cent in February 2019 against 1.29 per cent in January, and 4.45 per cent in February 2018. The data suggests that there is a greater chance that inflation won't hold up around the Fed's 2 per cent objective - a development that would discourage policy makers from additional rate increases amid rising risks from weakening global growth.

The Fed, which has a 2% inflation target, tracks a different measure, the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, for monetary policy.

The upward surge is likely to be welcomed by policymakers, who were alarmed by the 19-month low inflation rate of 1.97 per cent recorded last month. Gas prices for U.S. drivers were $2.31 a gallon on average in February, up from $2.25 in January, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Apparel prices rose 0.3 per cent. That index tends to run slightly below the Labor Department's CPI, and January figures are due March 29.

Monthly inflation was 0.2 percent compared last month to January after being flat for three months, matching economists' expectations. Food costs were up 0.4 percent, their largest monthly increase since May 2014, as both the food at home and food away from home indexes increased. The Fed is targeting 2% inflation.

In a wide-ranging interview with CBS's 60 Minutes television news program, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Sunday reiterated the central bank's wait-and-see approach to further monetary policy tightening this year. It hit the U.S. central bank's 2% inflation target in March 2018 for the first time since April 2012. The so-called core CPI had increased by 0.2 percent for five straight months. Annual wage growth jumped 3.4 percent in February, the biggest increase since April 2009, from 3.1 percent in January. Clothing prices plunged 1 percent in February, while new-auto prices slipped 0.2 percent.

In contrast, output of consumer non-durables rose by 3.8 per cent and that of consumer durables by 1.8 per cent.

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