US consumer prices rise

March 17th, 2012 - 11:40 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 17 (IANS/EFE) The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4 percent last month, the largest increase in 10 months, the Labour Department said Friday.

February’s spike in the CPI was overwhelmingly due to a 6 percent hike in gasoline prices from January levels, as retail prices for food held steady.

Inflation for the 12 months ending Feb 29 was 2.9 percent, unchanged from January.

The underlying inflation rate, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, was 0.1 percent last month and 2.2 percent over the 12-month period.

Rising prices at the gas pump add to the pressure on President Barack Obama to take action, though he said Thursday that he has no plans to release fuel from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The cost of energy rose 3.2 percent overall in February, after a much modest climb of 0.2 percent in January. Prices of motor vehicles fell 0.6 percent last month, the first drop since June 2011, while healthcare costs increased.

Inflation-adjusted weekly earnings declined 0.3 percent in February and were 0.4 lower than during the same month in 2011, the Commerce Department said Friday in a separate report.


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