March US CPI Report Shows Higher Than Expected Inflation

US CPI hit an annual rate of 3.5% while core CPI rose 2.8%

Tom Lauricella 10 April, 2024 | 2:30PM
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index in the US rose 3.5% in March from year-ago levels – an increase from February’s 3.2% rate.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, increased 3.8% in March over the last 12 months after rising 3.8% in February.

The CPI rose 0.4% in March from month-ago levels, as it did in February. Core CPI also rose 0.4%, matching the February increase.

The CPI had been expected to rise 0.3% in March following a 0.4% increase in February, according to FactSet. Excluding food and energy, CPI was forecast to post a 0.3% increase in March.

On a year-over-year basis, the CPI had been forecast to show an overall increase of 3.4% in March, and a 3.7% increase for CPI excluding food and energy.

Food prices increased 0.1% in March after holding steady in February. Food-at-home prices were unchanged over the month, while food-away-from-home (restaurant) prices rose 0.3%.

March CPI Report Key Stats

• CPI increased 0.4% for the month, as it did in February
• Core CPI climbed 0.4% after rising by the same amount in February
• CPI rose 3.5% year over year after growing by 3.2% the prior month
• Core CPI rose 3.8% from year-ago levels after rising 3.8% in February

Energy prices were mixed overall for the month after increasing 2.3% the prior month. Utility (piped) gas service prices remained unchanged, fuel oil prices declined 1.3%, gasoline prices rose 1.7%, and electricity prices rose 0.9%.

In March, shelter prices increased by 0.4% after increasing by the same amount in February.

This article was partially generated by Wordsmith, an automated smart-text platform, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The article has been reviewed by Morningstar editors.

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Tom Lauricella  is Editor of Morningstar Direct

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