CORE INFLATION UNEXPECTEDLY RISES

Housing inflationBusiness Insider/Matthew Boesler (data from Bloomberg)House prices led the housing-inflation component of the consumer price index by about 19 months.

Inflation unexpectedly accelerated in March because of increased costs of food and shelter, according to just-released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Both the headline consumer price index and the “core” price index (which excludes food and energy prices) advanced 0.2% in March from the previous month, ahead of consensus estimates for a 0.1% rise in both series, matching February’s pace.

The year-over-year change in the core index rose to 1.7% from 1.6%, while the year-over-year change in the headline index was boosted to 1.5% from 1.1%.

Economists expected the former to hold steady at 1.6% and the latter to rise to 1.4%, because of a drop in energy prices in March 2013.

The headline index was boosted by a 0.4% advance in food prices from the previous month in March despite a 0.1% drop in energy prices. The core index was bolstered by housing prices, which make up about 40% of all consumer prices, rising 2.8% from a year earlier — the fastest yearly gain since March 2008.

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