Inflation rises less than expected in March

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The consumer price index (CPI) rose less than expected in March, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The gauge of inflation and prices paid by consumers rose 0.1%. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core CPI also climbed by 0.1%.

Economists had estimated that both CPI and core CPI rose 0.2%, according to Bloomberg.

The costs of housing, medical care and cigarettes were among those that rose in March as clothing, furniture and secondhand car prices fell.

Gas prices increased in March, raising the energy index for the first time in November.

Compared to March 2015, CPI was up 0.9% and core CPI climbed 2.2%. Economists had forecast that CPI rose 1%, and core CPI increased 2.3%.

“The slowing in both overall and core inflation on a year-over-year basis in March raises some questions about the near-term path of monetary policy,” said Gus Faucher, deputy chief economist at PNC. Markets are currently pricing in a little-to-no chance that the FOMC raises interest rates at its meeting in April.

“The fundamentals point to higher inflation in the near term,” Faucher said.

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