news.cuna.org/articles/Inflation_ticks_up_in_March,_still_relatively_flat_

Inflation ticks up in March, still relatively flat

April 17, 2015
WASHINGTON (4/20/15)--For the second straight month in March the consumer price index (CPI) edged higher, but inflationary pressures have yet to gain real steam.

The CPI climbed 0.2% during the month, following up on February's 0.2% increase. On an annual basis, consumer prices are relatively unchanged.

"U.S. inflation is gradually moving in the right direction, but price pressures are tepid at best," said Ryan Sweet, Moody's analyst (Economy.com April 17). "Energy is no longer an enormous drag on the headline CPI, (and) rents are putting some upward pressure on the core index."

Rent prices climbed 0.3% in March, an acceleration from the 0.2% seen the prior month, while the rent of a primary residence rose 0.3% for the second straight month.

The energy CPI increased by 1.1% for the month, doubling up on the 1% gain seen in February, with energy commodities climbing 3.8% and gasoline prices jumping by 3.9%.

The gasoline CPI dropped by 18.7% in January.

"All told, the March CPI showed that the worst of disinflation has passed," Sweet said.

On an annual basis, CPI was down by 0.9% over the prior three months, an improvement from February's 3.9% decline and January's 5.1% setback.

Additional numbers:
  • Used-car and truck prices increased by 1.2%, while new-car prices climbed by 0.2%;
  • Food prices dropped by 0.2% during the month, reversing February's gains;
  • Apparel prices increased by 0.5% in March; and
  • Medical care service prices climbed by 0.4%.