In the largest gain since last April, the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in February, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' reports on the consumer price, US import/export price and producer price indexes. The CPI has averaged an annualized rate of inflation of 2.5 percent over the last three months. Last month’s bump was largely driven by energy prices, which rose 3.2 percent from January to February. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI rose 0.1 percent in the month and has grown at a 1.9 percent annualized rate since November.
Medical care services was unchanged in February, including the second consecutive fall in the price of professional medical services of 0.2 percent. This is the first time that professional medical services has seen consecutive declines in price, and the 0.4 percent annualized rate of decline since November represents the first three-month fall on record. The price of hospital services was flat last month.
For a more in-depth analysis, check out the latest Prices Byte.