Consumer prices rise 1.6% in January

By Reuters
Posted Feb. 17 at 7:45 a.m.

Prices are still going up on food and gas, but underlying inflation remains low, the government said Thursday. The U.S. Consumer Price Index, a key measure of inflation, increased 1.6 percent over the past 12 months ending in January, up from 1.5 percent in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Surging gasoline and food prices helped drive the number higher, accounting for two-thirds of the increase.

Over the past 12 months, the food index has risen 1.8 percent, its fastest pace since 2009.

But so-called core inflation, which strips out the volatile food and energy components, rose just 1 percent during the 12-month period, showing price pressures overall still remain tame.

In the Midwest region, the all-items index rose 1.9 percent in January from a year earlier, outstripping the increase in the country’s overall CPI level. Stripping out food and energy, the index for the Midwest was up 1.2 percent over the last 12 months.

Within the Midwest, the Chicago-Gary-Kenosha region saw a smaller increase in prices, with the all-items index up 1.4 percent in January on the year. Excluding food and energy prices, the index was up 1.0 percent.

On a monthly basis, CPI rose 0.4 percent in January, unchanged from the previous month. Economists surveyed by had expected a 0.3 percent rise in January.

Core CPI rose 0.2 percent for the month, up from a 0.1 percent rate in December.

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