Inflation Moderating Based on February CPI


The February Consumer Price Index (CPI) attained 6.0 percent compared to February 2022 and was down from the January value of 6.4 percent.  This was the eighth consecutive month of lower inflation.  For February, the CPI increased 0.4 percent compared to the corresponding month in 2021 and conformed to consensus estimates.  The January CPI was 0.5 percent higher than in January 2022. Core CPI excluding energy and food prices attained 5.5 percent year-over-year and 0.5 percent for February.


The inflation rate for Food was 9.5 percent with the food-at-home category reflecting grocery prices, up 10.2 percent year-over-year.  In contrast, inflation in the Services category was up by 0.8 percent in February and 8.1 percent year-over-year.


The lower inflation figures corresponding to estimates, will be considered by the U. S. Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee that will decide on whether to increase rates at the March meeting and if so to select a level ranging from 25 to 50 basis points.  Apart from the CPI and other data, two recent bank failures will influence the Committee decision with a consensus of a pause or an increase of only 25 basis points.