US inflation jumps to 40-year high
The US Labor Department said on Tuesday that its consumer price index soared 8.5% in March from 12 months earlier, the sharpest year-over-year increase since 1981. The surge was driven by continuing supply-chain problems, soaring demand and rising energy prices, it said.
Statistics showed that the monthly rise was 1.2%, the fastest jump since September 2005 and a sharp acceleration from February’s 0.8% increase.
US authorities are blaming the surging prices on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with President Joe Biden saying on Monday: “I am doing everything within my executive power to bring down the Putin price hike.”
Meanwhile, Joe Manchin, the moderate Democratic senator from West Virginia, told the Financial Times that “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.” He added that it was a “disservice to the American people to act as if inflation is a new phenomenon.”
The US gasoline index skyrocketed 18.3% in March and accounted for over half of all the items’ monthly increase. Gasoline prices have been up by 48% in the past 12 months. Used car prices have also soared 35%, though they actually fell in February and March.
The food index rose 1% in March compared with February, and is up almost 9% compared with the previous 12 months. Grocery prices have jumped 10%, data shows.
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