U.S. Core Consumer Price Growth Unexpectedly Slows To 4.6% In February

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Core consumer price growth in the U.S. unexpectedly slowed in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday.

The report said core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, jumped 4.6 percent year-over-year in February.

Annual price growth remains elevated, but this represents a slowdown from the 4.7 percent year-over-year spike in January. Economists had expected the pace of growth to be unchanged.

Including food and energy prices, the annual rate of consumer price growth also slowed to 5.0 percent in February from 5.3 percent in January. The pace of overall growth was also expected to be unchanged.

The Commerce Department said consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent on a monthly basis in February following a 0.6 percent advance in January. Economists had expected prices to increase by 0.4 percent.

Core consumer prices also increased by 0.3 percent on a monthly basis in February after climbing by 0.5 percent in January. Core prices were expected to edge up by 0.2 percent.

"We expect inflation to continue to ease through the balance of 2023, though it will hold above the Fed's 2% target," said Oren Klachkin, Lead U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

The inflation readings, which are said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, were included in the Commerce Department's report on personal income and spending in February.

The Commerce Department said personal income rose by 0.3 percent in February after climbing by 0.6 percent in January. Economists had expected personal income to increase by 0.4 percent.

Disposable personal income, or personal income less personal current taxes, increased by 0.5 percent in February after surging by 2.0 percent in January.

The report also said personal spending edged up by 0.2 percent in February after spiking by an upwardly revised 2.0 percent in January.

Economists had expected personal spending to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 1.8 percent surge originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, real personal spending, which excludes price changes, edged down by 0.1 percent in February following a 1.5 percent jump in January.

Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income rose to 4.6 percent in February from 4.4 percent in January.

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