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Business

REUTERS
March 14, 2018

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US consumer prices slow as gasoline falls

WASHINGTON: U.S. consumer price growth slowed in February amid a decline in gasoline prices and a moderation in the cost of rental accommodation, the latest indication that an anticipated pickup in inflation probably will be only gradual.

The Labor Department said on Tuesday its Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent last month after jumping 0.5 percent in January. In the 12 months through February, the CPI rose 2.2 percent, up from 2.1 percent in January as the weak reading from last year dropped from the calculation. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI gained 0.2 percent after accelerating 0.3 percent in January. The year-on-year increase in the so-called core CPI was unchanged at 1.8 percent in February.

"While there is evidence of building inflationary pressures in certain components, the annual growth rates, especially for the core CPI, do not suggest a breakout in inflation yet," said Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide, in Columbus, Ohio. Last month´s increase in consumer prices was in line with economists´ expectations.

The Federal Reserve tracks a different index, the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, which has consistently undershot the central bank´s 2 percent target since mid-2012.

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