US CPI accelerates to 3.5% in March

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This photo taken on March 12, 2024 shows a gas station in Vienna, Virginia, the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

U.S. consumer inflation in March sped up to 3.5 percent from a year ago, after ticking up to 3.2 percent in February, indicating continued inflation pressure, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in February, it said.

The index for shelter rose in March, as did the index for gasoline. Combined, these two indexes contributed over half of the monthly increase in the index for all items, it said.

The latest inflation report showed that the so-called core CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.4 percent in March, as it did in January and February, after edging up 0.3 percent in December. Core CPI rose 3.8 percent over the last 12 months.

The energy index increased 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending March, the first 12-month increase in that index since the period ending February 2023. The food index increased 2.2 percent over the last year.

At an event at Stanford University last week, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said it is too soon to say whether the recent inflation readings "represent more than just a bump."

"We do not expect that it will be appropriate to lower our policy rate until we have greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably down toward 2 percent," said Powell.

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