Gas Prices Fuel 0.7% Consumer Price Increase
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis for February, according to a Labor Department report (link opens in PDF) released today. After its January flatline, market analysts had estimated a 0.5% increase for February.
The main boost behind the Index comes from a 9.1% spike in gasoline prices, which accounted for nearly 75% of the CPI's increase. Overall, energy prices jumped 5.4% in February. As U.S. refineries pull back on gasoline production, high costs also boosted February's Producer Price Index.
Excluding energy and food costs from the index, analysts' 0.2% estimated bump proved correct. In the last 12 months, consumer prices have gone up 2%. Energy commodities have increased the most (+3.1%), while used cars and trucks have dropped 0.2% in price for the Index's only reduction .
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