US consumer prices in February were not too hot, not too cold, but just right to reinforce the outlook by Federal Reserve policymakers for three interest-rate increases this year, Labor Department data showed Tuesday.
What happened: The rise in the cost of living last month was largely the result of higher rent and home prices.
World shares inched higher on Tuesday, eking out limited gains as investors kept a wary eye on a US inflation reading later in the day that could offer clues on the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes this year. Brent also rose 0.2 per cent to $65.08 per barrel.
Inflation-adjusted USA hourly wages were flat in February.
On a month-on-month basis, the index, according to the NBS report increased by 0.79 per cent in February 2018, down by 0.01 percent points from the rate recorded in January.
The all items index rose 2.2 percent for the 12 months ending February, a slightly larger increase than the 2.1-percent rise for the 12 months ending January.
No other data underscore America's best of times than that tracked by the US Federal Reserve to gauge its success or otherwise of its monetary policy settings and direction - employment and inflation. "Just tapping on the brakes every quarter seems like a likely scenario". The core U.S. inflation, which is excluding volatile components such as food and energy, in February accelerated by 1.8% yoy, remaining unchanged from the previous month, fully meeting the expectations of market participants.
Consumer prices increased at a modest pace in February, underscoring that inflation pressures appear to be muted for now. Meanwhile, core services inflation has been on a stable trajectory in the past few months.
The data indicate inflation is gradually picking up without any big acceleration.
Excluding food and fuel, this measure has risen 3.2 per cent so far this year, notably faster than the 2.6 per cent reported in the first two months of 2017.
In the women's sector, prices rose in all categories, led by a 4.8% increase in outerwear and a 2.4% hike in suits and separates, while prices for dresses were up 1.9% and tags for the underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories group were 1.1% higher. The monthly readings of 0.2% for both the nominal CPI and core CPI were right in line with expectations. Along with shelter, apparel, and motor vehicle insurance, the indexes for household furnishings and operations, education, personal care, and airline fares also increased in February. Prices for hospital care fell 0.5 percent and the cost of prescription medication declined 0.4 percent.
Information for this article was contributed by Kristy Scheuble and Benjamin Purvis of Bloomberg News.
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