WASHINGTON (3/25/15)--The consumer price index (CPI) climbed 0.2% in February, the first increase in four months, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Tuesday (Economy.com March 24).
Energy prices began to stabilize during the month after plunging in both December and January, which helped redirect overall prices into positive territory.
Specifically, fuel oil prices climbed by 1.9% after a 9.9% tumble in January, and the gasoline CPI rose 2.4% in February after dropping by 18.7% the prior month.
"Lower oil prices' mark on the U.S. consumer price index is fading," said Ryan Sweet, Moody's analyst (Economy.com).
Though it could take longer than expected for oil prices to resume climbing, which, when combined with an appreciating U.S. dollar, could continue to suppress inflation, Sweet added.
The core CPI climbed by 0.2% for the month. Core CPI excludes energy and food, which rose by 0.2%.
Further, used cars and trucks saw healthy price increases for the first time since December 2013, jumping 1% in February, while new-car prices increased 0.2%.
Shelter, or the price of housing also rose, climbing 0.2% on a monthly basis in February and 3% on an annual basis.