United States: Inflation jumps on gasoline prices
March 15, 2012
In February, consumer prices added 0.4% over the previous month in seasonally adjusted terms, which doubled the 0.2% rise recorded in January. The figure, however, undershot market expectations that had prices rising 0.5%. The monthly price rise was driven by a sharp increase in energy prices, in particular for gasoline. Despite the monthly increase, annual inflation remained unchanged at January's 2.9%, which marks its lowest level since April 2011. Meanwhile, the closely monitored core inflation index, which excludes food and energy prices, added a milder 0.1% over the previous month. As a result, annual core inflation inched down from 2.3% in January to 2.2% in February. Annual average inflation over the previous 12 months was 3.3%, which was unchanged from January. In its latest forecast, the Federal Reserve expects PCE inflation (based on the price index for personal consumption expenditures) to average between 1.4% and 1.8% this year.