Fed Dilemma: Inflation Running Too Low in CPI Reading

InflationThe Labor Department has released its latest report on retail inflation via the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Prices in February were up 0.1% on the headline CPI. Core inflation, excluding food and energy, rose by 0.1% as well. Bloomberg had estimates of 0.1% on the headline and 0.1% on the core inflation reading.

The end result is that prices were up only 1.1% from a year ago. What stands out here is that this is the weakest 12-month gain in about six months, but furthermore it remains well under the Federal Reserve's inflation target of 2% — the same day that an FOMC meeting is starting. The core inflation was up by 1.6% from a year ago.

Food prices were up by 0.4%, but energy prices were down by -0.5%. The gain in food was the most in over two years, which may be partly driven by that West Coast drought. Lower gasoline prices around the country offset higher heating bills in the Midwest and Northeast.

Stock futures surged Tuesday morning on Putin's comments that he does not want to enter other parts of Ukraine. Tuesday's CPI report has not taken any noticeable gains away.

Filed under: Economy
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