Consumer Prices Rise In February For First Time In Four Months

MarketWatch Pulse

U.S. consumer prices rose in February for the first time in fourth months, as gas prices rebounded and the cost of food and shelter increased again. The consumer price index climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.2%, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That matched the MarketWatch forecast of economists. Despite the increase in February, consumer prices are unchanged in the past 12 months, the byproduct of a plunge in oil prices in the second half of 2014. The annualized rate had turned negative in January for the first time since 2009. Energy prices increased 1% in February to mark the first gain since last June. Food prices rose 0.2%. Excluding food and energy, so-called core consumer prices also increased 0.2% in February. Core prices are up 1.7% in the past year - close to the Federal Reserve's 2% inflation target - mostly because of higher costs of shelter, new cars and medical care. Real hourly wages, meanwhile, fell by 0.1% in February, the first drop in five months. Real wages have climbed a modest 2.1% in the past year.

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