Rising Energy Costs Boost U.S. Consumer Prices

By Agence France-Presse U.S. consumer prices rose a sharp 0.5% in January, the Labor Department said Feb. 20, boosted by a surge in gasoline and other energy prices. The so-called core inflation rate, excluding volatile food and energy prices, was up 0.2%. The consumer price index (CPI) report was steeper than expected on Wall Street, where analysts projected a 0.3% headline figure and a 0.1% core rate. A seasonally adjusted rise of 4.7% in energy prices accounted for most of the monthly increase in the consumer price index, which tracks U.S. inflation at the retail level. Gasoline prices rose 8.1%, while fuel oil prices increased 7.2%. Over the past 12 months, the CPI has risen 1.9%. The core rate is up 1.1%. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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