The consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.1% in March, seasonally adjusted, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists were expecting a gain of 0.2%.
During the last 12 months, the all items index rose 0.9% before seasonal adjustment, well below the Federal Reserve's 2% target for inflation. This could signal further Fed reluctance to increase its benchmark interest rate anytime soon.
The food index declined in March, while the indexes for energy and for all items
less food and energy rose. The food index fell 0.2% after rising in February,
as five of the six major grocery store food groups declined. The energy index
rose for the first time since November, with all of its major components except
natural gas increasing.
While the index for all items less food and energy increased in March, the 0.1% advance was the smallest increase since August. Major component indexes
were mixed in March. The indexes for shelter, recreation, medical care, education,
tobacco, and personal care were among those that rose, while the indexes for
apparel, airline fares, communication, household furnishings and operations, and
used cars and trucks all declined.
The all items index rose 0.9% during the last 12 months, a slightly smaller
increase than the 1.0% change for the 12 months ending February. The index
for all items less food and energy has risen 2.2% during the last 12 months,
and the food index has increased 0.8%. Despite rising in March, the energy
index has declined 12.6% during the last year.