Energy Prices Raise CPI

To virtually no one's surprise, higher prices for gasoline and other motor fuels drove up the U.S. Labor Department's Consumer Price Index by four-tenths of a percentage point in March. The closely watched index, a key measure of U.S. inflation, had risen just one-tenth of a percentage point in February.

The so-called core CPI, which excludes the sometimes volatile month-to-month price changes for food and fuel, rose three-tenths of a percentage point in March, triple its one-tenth percent rise in February. Higher prices for apparel and shelter accounted for about 70% of the March increase in the core CPI, the Labor Department said when it released the latest data on April 19.

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