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Financial News: U.S. Consumer Prices Increase 0.4% In February, In

U.S. Consumer Prices Increase 0.4% In February, In Line With Estimates

03/12/2024 - 10:11:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Consumer prices in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of February, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Tuesday.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in February after rising by 0.3 percent in January. The advance matched expectations.

The report also said the annual rate of consumer price growth ticked up to 3.2 percent in February from 3.1 percent in January. The year-over-year growth was expected to be unchanged.

The monthly increase by consumer prices partly reflected a substantial rebound by energy prices, which surged by 2.3 percent in February after slumping by 0.9 percent in January amid a spike in gasoline prices.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.4 percent in February, matching the increase seen in January. Economists had expected core prices to rise by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the annual rate of core consumer price growth slowed to 3.8 percent in February from 3.9 percent in January. The pace of growth was expected to decelerate to 3.7 percent.

The monthly core price growth reflected a continued increase in prices for shelter as well as higher prices for airline fares, motor vehicle insurance, apparel and recreation.

On the other hand, prices for personal care and household furnishings and operations were among those that decreased over the month.

"Although inflation has continued to ease, much of core inflation remains "sticky" and isn't unwinding at a pace that would offer the Fed the confidence it needs to begin the easing cycle perhaps even in June," said Quincy Krosby, Chief Global Strategist for LPL Financial.

She added, "What could help underpin a move in June or July, however, is that Owners Equivalent Rent (OER) has begun to tick lower, and given its heavy weighting in the CPI a continued downward trajectory by June or July could certainly assuage Fed concerns regarding inflation remaining stubbornly higher."

The Labor Department is scheduled to release a separate report on Thursday on producer price inflation in the month of February.

Producer prices are expected to rise by 0.3 percent in February, matching the increase seen in January, while the annual rate of producer price growth is expected to accelerate to 1.1 percent from 0.9 percent.

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