Consumer Price Index flat in February

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — A month after rising 0.2%, the overall Consumer Price Index was unchanged in February at 217.6, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. Despite holding flat, the index has increased 2.1% over the past 12 months. The index for food and beverages also finished virtually unchanged, rising to 218.838 in February from 218.731 in January.

The B.L.S. said the overall flat index reflected a decline in the energy index offset by slight increases in the indexes for food and for all items less food and energy.

The food index rose 0.1% in February after climbing 0.2% in January. Among the major grocery store food groups, the sharpest gain was posted in the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose 0.4% to 202.5. Within the category, the indexes for pork and for eggs both rose 2.6%, the B.L.S. said.

The food at home index rose 0.1% in February to 214.6. The increase followed a 0.4% gain in January, which marked the sharpest increase in the category since September 2008, the B.L.S. said. Meanwhile, the index for other food at home rose 0.2% to 191.2.

The index for cereals and bakery products, which fell 0.5% in January, finished steady at 251.4.
The indexes for both fruits and vegetables, and for dairy and related products, fell 0.1%, while the index for nonalcoholic beverages eased 0.4%.
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