U.S. consumer prices increase solidly in March

Shoppers wearing protective masks are seen at Hudson Yards amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer prices increased by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March and underlying inflation picked up as more parts of the economy reopened thanks to increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus.

The consumer price index jumped 0.6% last month, the largest gain August 2012, after rising 0.4% in February, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.3%. The so-called core CPI nudged up 0.1% in February.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the overall CPI advancing 0.5% and the core CPI climbing 0.2%.

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