Inflation hits another new 40-year high in March, rising to 8.5% annually: What it means for interest rates

Surging food and energy prices push inflation higher

Inflation hit yet another new 40-year high in March as the Fed fights to bring it down. (iStock)

For the fifth consecutive month, inflation surged to a new 40-year high in March, rising to 8.5% annually, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It marked the highest rate of increase since December 1981, when inflation grew to 8.9%.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is a measure of inflation in the United States, increased 1.2% from February to March. This was led by price surges in gasoline, shelter and food prices, according to the BLS report.

The gasoline index rose by 18.3% over the last month, and accounted for more than half of all monthly increases. The food index also increased 1% during the same time period.

The Federal Reserve recently raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 to combat rising inflation, and has indicated that several more rate hikes will happen this year. If you want to take advantage of current interest rates before they rise any further, you could consider taking out a personal loan if you need to pay down high-interest debt.

Visit Credible to find your personalized interest rate without affecting your credit score.

Manchin slams inflation numbers, calls it an ‘out of control' tax

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was highly critical of March's inflation numbers in a statement, saying that inflation is a tax itself that is "completely out of control." 

"When will this end?" Manchin said. "It is a disservice to the American people to act as if inflation is a new phenomenon. The Federal Reserve and the Administration failed to act fast enough, and today’s data is a snapshot in time of the consequences being felt across the country. 

"Instead of acting boldly, our elected leaders and the Federal Reserve continue to respond with half-measures and rhetorical failures searching for where to lay the blame," he continued. "The American people deserve the truth about why record inflation is happening and what must be done to control it."

The Fed is now making moves to control high inflation by raising interest rates. You can take advantage of rates before they rise further by refinancing your home loan and saving money on your monthly mortgage payments. Visit Credible to compare multiple mortgage lenders at once and choose the one with the best interest rate for you.

Federal Reserve prepares for future interest rate hikes

In new minutes released from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting, officials signaled that they could be preparing to raise rates further — potentially by 50 basis points — in coming meetings in an attempt to cool rising consumer prices.

"Many participants noted that one or more [half-percentage-point] increases in the target range could be appropriate at future meetings, particularly if inflation pressures remained elevated or intensified," the minutes said.

The Fed's next meeting will take place from May 3 to 4, during which officials could raise rates by half a percentage point. If you are interested in taking advantage of interest rates before they increase, consider refinancing your private student loans to lower your monthly payment. Contact Credible to speak to a student loan expert and get all of your questions answered.

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