Consumer prices rose 0.2% in February and were flat compared to the prior year, roughly in-line with expectations.
Expectations were for the consumer price index to rise 0.2% compared to the prior month and fall 0.1% compared to the prior year.
On a “core” basis, prices rose 0.2% over last month and 1.7% over the prior year, right in-line with expectations.
In January, headline CPI declined 0.1% against the same month last year, the first year-on-year decline since October 2009.
Prices in energy, which have been in focus over the last several months as gas prices have collapsed, were up 1% over the prior month in February. Compared to last year, however, energy prices were still down hugely in February, falling 18.8%, lead by a 32.8% decline in fuel oil and a 32.5% decline in gasoline prices.
In a chart to clients following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said: “In one line: Core inflation stable, though likely will dip over the next few months … We still think the stronger dollar and pass-through
from falling gas prices will push core inflation down over the next couple of quarters.”
Here’s the chart from the BLS showing the headline and “core” inflation readings over the last year.
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