Consumer Price Index again finishes higher

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The overall Consumer Price Index rose 0.5% in February to 212.2, its second straight month of gains, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. climbed 0.4 in February. The energy index, which rose 1.7% in January, climbed 3.3% in February, its second straight monthly increase after six months of declines. The gasoline index followed up a 6% increase in January with an 8.3% gain in February, the B.L.S. said.

Meanwhile, the index for food and beverages eased 0.1%, falling to 219.1 from 219.3. The index had gained 0.1% in January, 0.1% in December, 0.2% in November and 0.4% in October.

Within the index for food at home, only fruits and vegetables posted an increase. The index for the group rose 0.4% to 275.4, a stark contrast to the preceding five months of declines in the category.

The sharpest month-over-month decline occurred in dairy and related products, which fell 2.4% to 204.5. The decline came on the heels of a loss of 0.6% in January, and 1.1% in December. Milk declined 5.7% after falling 1.4% in January. For the past year, milk has declined 10%.

The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs fell 0.1% in February to 208.4.

Food at home, which fell 0.1% in January, eased 0.4% in February to 218.

Cereal and bakery products, which gained 0.5% in December and held unchanged in January, fell 0.5% in February to 254.3. Year-over-year, the cereal and bakery products index was up 8.9%.

Other food at home fell 0.3% to 192.4, while the index for nonalcoholic beverages was down 0.4%.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — rose 0.3% and fell 0.2%, respectively, the B.L.S. said.

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