The big jump in the price of energy commodities in January was partially reversed in February with a 0.9 percent drop. This brought the overall inflation rate for the month to 0.2 percent, the same as the core rate. Over the last year, the overall CPI has risen by 2.2 percent, while the core rate has risen by 1.8 percent.

However, even this core rate is deceptive since rising rents continue to be an overwhelming factor. Excluding shelter, the core rate is up just 0.9 percent over the last year. There is zero evidence of any acceleration in this rate over the last year. This raises the question of why the Federal Reserve should be looking to raise interest rates when inflation remains well below its target with no evidence of acceleration.

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