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U.S. consumer prices went up 2 percent in March

Staff writer |
U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose modestly in March,largely led by rising shelter costs, the Labor Department reported. As a main gauge of inflation, the CPI increased 0.2 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis.

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Over the last 12 months, the index increased 1.5 percent before seasonal adjustment. Energy prices dropped 0.1 percent last month, as decreases in the gasoline and fuel oil prices offset increases in electricity and natural gas prices. Meanwhile, food costs rose 0.4 percent, the same as the previous month.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the so- called "core" inflation index rose 0.2 percent in March. Almost two-thirds of this increase was accounted for by a 0.3 percent rise in shelter index, which includes prices for rents.

Economists monitor core prices to get a sense of broader inflation trends, a key barometer for monetary policy decision of the central bank. The overall monthly CPI in March was higher than market expectation, but still indicated tamed inflation.


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