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U.S. Inflation Rate Rose 3.2% In February

Inflation in the U.S. rose 3.2% year-over-year in February, largely matching the forecasts of economists.

America’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4% between January and February of this year, and 3.2% from a year earlier, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The monthly gain was in line with the forecasts of economists, but the annual increase was slightly ahead of a 3.1% consensus forecast, according to polling from Dow Jones Newswire.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, core inflation in the U.S. increased 0.4% month-to-month and was up 3.8% from February 2023.

Both core inflation readings were slightly ahead of economists’ forecasts.

While inflation in the U.S. has declined considerably from a peak of 9.1% reached in June 2022, it remains well above the 2% annualized target of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Analysts and traders are betting that the American central bank will start lowering interest rates in June of this year. However, Fed officials have said they want to see more progress made on inflation before cutting rates.

A 2.3% increase in energy costs helped boost the headline inflation number in February. Food costs in the U.S. were flat on the month, while shelter costs rose 0.4%.

Rises in energy and shelter costs amounted to more than 60% of the total inflation gain seen in February, with gasoline prices at the pump increasing 3.8% on a month-over-month basis.

Additionally, airline fares in America rose 3.6% between January and February of this year.

The latest inflation reading appears to have done little to change the views of futures traders and investors concerning the timing of interest rate cuts.

All three of the major U.S. stock indices are solidly in the green to start today’s (March 12) trading session following news of the February inflation data.