US sees consumer prices jump most since 1982
February consumer price gains in the US accelerated by 7.9% compared to last year, marking the fastest annual jump since 1982. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) outpaced January’s previous 40-year high of 7.5%.
On a month-over-month basis, consumer price increases also accelerated. The widely followed inflation gauge surged 0.8% in February from a month earlier after increasing by 0.6% in January, reflecting rising gasoline, food and shelter costs.
Last month, the energy index jumped 3.5%, marking the largest monthly surge since October. Over the past year, the energy index was up 25.6%. Meanwhile, core prices increased 0.5% from a month earlier and 6.4% from a year ago.
“Inflation is not likely to roll over and begin to come down for several more months,” Michael Gapen, chief US economist at Barclays, told Bloomberg.
“This sets the stage for where we are now. And we need to see how long this conflict [in Ukraine] plays out and how disruptive the sanctions regime actually is.”
The food price index rose 1% month-on-month, also picking up slightly from January’s 0.9% rise. This was driven in turn by prices for food at home, which rose 1.4% and brought the annual increase in this index up to 8.6%.
In a statement on Thursday morning, President Joe Biden pointed to the conflict in Ukraine as a key contributor to the latest jump in prices.
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