United States: Core and headline inflation continue to rise in February
March 17, 2011
Consumer prices continued to rise in February, jumping a seasonally adjusted 0.5% over the previous month. The reading came in a notch above the 0.4% rate tallied in January and market expectations, which had prices rising at the clip observed in January. As the figure was well ahead of the flat reading tallied in February 2010, annual headline inflation jumped from 1.6% in January to 2.1% in February. The increase reflected soaring energy costs and higher prices for food, as rising commodity prices are passed through to consumers. Moreover, the closely watched core inflation index, which does not include food and energy, rose a less pronounced 0.2% over the previous month, driving annual core inflation to 1.1% (January: 1.0% year-on-year) and thus leaving October's record low of 0.6% far behind. The Fed anticipates PCE inflation (based on the price index for personal consumption expenditures) to average between 1.1% and 1.7% in 2011 and between 1.1% and 1.8% in 2012.