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U.S. inflation near Fed's 2 percent

Staff Writer |
U.S. consumer prices accelerated in the year to March, with a measure of underlying inflation surging to near the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target as last year’s weak readings dropped out of the calculation.

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Consumer prices as measured by the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index jumped 2.0 percent year-on-year in March. That was the biggest gain since February 2017 and followed a 1.7 percent rise in February.

The PCE price index was unchanged on a monthly basis after advancing 0.2 percent in February.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the PCE price index soared 1.9 percent in the 12 months through March, the biggest increase since February 2017, after increasing 1.6 percent in February. The so-called core PCE price index rose 0.2 month-on-month in March after a similar gain in February.

The core PCE index is the Fed’s preferred inflation measure. Last month’s increase was in line with economists’ expectations.

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