Annual inflation rate at 6%
The consumer price index increased 0.4% for February, in line with economists’ expecations. The annual inflation rate is now at 6%, which will most likely mean another 0.25% interest rate hike next week by the Federal Reserve Bank.
The core CPI, which excluded volatile food and energy prices increased 0.5% last month and 5.5% year over year. Falling energy prices helped keep overall inflation down, as the sector fell 0.6% for the month, and a 7.9% decline in fuel oil prices was a major factor.
Medical services fell 0.7% for the month, putting them at 2.1% year over year, while medical care commodities increased 0.1% and 3.2% respectively.
Food prices rose 0.4%, but meat, poultry, fish, and egg prices fell 0.1% for the month, the first time that has happened since December 2021.
Shelter costs increased 0.8%, bringing the annual rate to 8.1% and accounting for 60% of the total CPI increase, but bank officials say they expect housing costs to slow over the rest of 2023.
One category seeing a major decline is used vehicles, which fell 2.8% in February and are down 13.6% year over year.