American consumer prices rose for the first time in four months as food costs and rents accelerated easing the Federal Reserve’s concerns about low inflation.
The consumer-price index gained 0.2 percent in March, doubling April's increase for the highest monthly rise this year, according to the Labor Department in Washington today. The forecast was for a 0.1 percent increase.
Core prices, excluding food and energy rose 0.2 percent on an identical 0.1 percent forecast and April reading.
The 1.5 percent annual gain in March was 0.4 percent higher than April's increase which had been the second lowest annual boost since the end of the recession in June 2009. The post-recession low was 1.0 percent last October. Core annual inflation increased 0.1 percent to 1.7 percent in March.
The two year decline in inflation has elicited considerable attention from the Federal Reserve whose inflation target is set just below 2.0 percent. Annual inflation was last at 2.0 percent in July 2013 and core was last there in February 2013.
The Federal Reserve has become increasingly concern from the central bank that a falling rate of inflation could damage the economy as people postpone consumption waiting for lower prices, andpossibly end in deflation, outrighty falling prices, which can place an economy in a price, production and consumption downward spiral.
Energy prices slid 0.1 percent in March but food rose 0.4 percent, as pork and beef prices increase, partially due to smaller hired due to cold weather.
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