US inflation hits fresh 40-year high ahead of
A sign advertises food specials in Brooklyn on March 10, 2022 in New York City. [Photo/Agencies]
WASHINGTON - US consumer inflation in February continued to rise at the fastest annual pace in 40 years, the US Labor Department reported on Thursday.
The latest data is another reminder that inflation has been persistently high, which would warrant the US Federal Reserve's expected rate hike on its policy meeting next week.
The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose 0.8 percent from the previous month after rising 0.6 percent in January, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The CPI surged 7.9 percent from a year earlier, the largest 12-month hike since the period ending January 1982.
The so-called core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 6.4 over the last 12 months, the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982, the BLS report showed.
The energy index rose 25.6 percent over the last year, and the food index increased by 7.9 percent.
The stubbornly high inflation has recently prompted the Fed to signal its policy shift. Last week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reaffirmed the central bank's plan to raise interest rates in the upcoming policy meeting, noting that he is inclined to support a 25-basis-point rate hike.
Recent data from the Commerce Department also showed that US personal consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure, rose 6.1 percent in January over the past year.
US President Joe Biden's newly announced ban on Russian oil imports is expected to push prices at the gas pump even higher when inflation is already elevated.
"Certainly, that has had an impact on inflation, which is going to be seen across the economy," US-China Business Council President Craig Allen told Xinhua. "Increasing price of oil makes the inflation control job more difficult in the short term."