Price cool: United States consumer prices cool in February

Retail inflation climbs to 2.57%, factory output decelerates to 1.7%

Consumer Inflation Rises To 2.57% In February

Lower food prices halved India's retail inflation in February 2019 to 2.57 per cent, from 4.44 per cent during the corresponding month of past year, official data showed on Tuesday.

As the Federal Reserve takes a break from raising short-term interest rates, a surprise uptick in inflation could potentially be a red flag.

The consumer-price index, which measures what Americans pay for everything from lipstick to used trucks, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in February, the Labor Department said Tuesday, snapping three consecutive months of flat readings.

"With the headline inflation reading at 2.57 per cent and industrial production surprising on the downside at 1.7 per cent, there clearly is a case and space for one more rate cut of 25 bps by RBI in April to support growth", said Rajni Thakur, Economist, RBL Bank.

In the fuel and light category, the rate of price rise slowed to 1.24 per cent from 2.20 per cent in January.

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Price pressures in the core (excluding food and energy) were a little softer than expected, up only 0.1% in February.

A KEY measure of underlying USA inflation unexpectedly eased in February amid falling prices for cars and prescription drugs, giving the Federal Reserve more room to stick to its plan to be patient about raising interest rates.

On a sub-category basis, vegetable prices reduced on YoY basis in January by (-) 7.69 per cent. That index tends to run slightly below the Labor Department's CPI, and January figures are due March 29. Food prices jumped 0.4 percent in February. It hit the USA central bank's 2 percent inflation target in March past year for the first time since April 2012. "The weaker print can be traced to a drop in core goods prices, which fell 0.2%".

In a wide-ranging interview with CBS's 60 Minutes television news program, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Sunday reiterated the central bank's wait-and-see approach to further monetary policy tightening this year. Consumers paid more for motor vehicle insurance, airline fares, household furnishings and personal care products. The cost of communication services was unchanged in February for a third straight month. Clothing prices plunged 1 percent in February, while new-auto prices slipped 0.2 percent.

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