MIL-OSI China: US CPI accelerates to 3.2% in February

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Source: China State Council Information Office

A customer visits a supermarket in San Mateo, California, the United States, Dec. 12, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

U.S. consumer inflation in February sped up to 3.2 percent from a year ago, after slowing to 3.1 percent in January, indicating continued inflation pressure, the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.3 percent in January, according to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The index for shelter rose in February, as did the index for gasoline. Combined, these two indexes contributed over 60 percent of the monthly increase in the index for all items, the report showed. The energy index rose 2.3 percent over the month, as all of its component indexes increased.

The latest inflation report showed that the so-called core CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.4 percent in February, as it did in January, after edging up 0.3 percent in December. Core CPI rose 3.8 percent over the last 12 months, down from 3.9 percent for the 12 months ending January.

The energy index decreased 1.9 percent for the 12 months ending February, while the food index increased 2.2 percent over the last year.

Price pressures persisted during the reporting period, but several districts reported some degree of moderation in inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book released last week. Beige Book is a survey on economic conditions based on information collected from its 12 regional reserve banks.

Consumer spending, particularly on retail goods, inched down in recent weeks. Several reports cited heightened price sensitivity by consumers and noted that households continued to trade down and to shift spending away from discretionary goods, the Beige Book showed.

At a congressional hearing last week, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that the central bank is not ready to start cutting interest rates, noting that he needs to see a little bit more data before taking any action.

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