Inflation Persists as Consumer Price Index Rises in March, Up 0.4%
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Inflation Persists as Consumer Price Index Rises in March, Up 0.4%

Inflation persisted in March as the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% month-over-month and 3.5% year-over-year, surpassing expectations.
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On Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.4% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, matching the rise from February.

Over the past 12 months, the CPI index climbed 3.5% before seasonal adjustment, surpassing the 3.2% annual increase reported for the period ending February.

Core CPI Also Up 0.4% in March

Core inflation, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, also rose 0.4% in March, maintaining the same pace as the previous two months.

This index has climbed 3.8% over the past 12 months. The energy index saw a notable 1.1% increase in March, primarily driven by rising gasoline prices, while the food index showed a modest 0.1% increase, with the food away from home index rising slightly more at 0.3%.

Housing costs continued to significantly contribute to the overall CPI increase, with shelter costs rising 0.4% in March and 5.7% over the last 12 months. The energy index went up by 2.1% annually, while the food index has risen by 2.2% year-over-year.

March CPI Print Higher than Expected

The March CPI data came in slightly higher than economists’ expectations. While analysts anticipated the year-over-year CPI to rise to a 3.4% pace, the actual increase was 3.5%.

The monthly inflation pace was expected to ease to 0.3% from February’s 0.4%, but it remained steady at 0.4%. Similarly, core inflation was predicted to rise at a slightly slower 0.3% monthly rate, but it maintained its 0.4% pace from the previous month.

As anticipated, higher oil prices exerted upward pressure on the inflation data, with gasoline prices significantly contributing to the energy index’s rise.