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U.S. Core Inflation Unexpectedly Cools on Autos, Drug Prices

  • Annual gain in index excluding food and energy eases to 2.1%
  • Results are likely to reinforce Fed’s patient stance on rates
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How Wall Street Views the U.S. Inflation Path
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A key measure of underlying U.S. inflation unexpectedly eased in February amid falling prices for autos and prescription drugs, giving the Federal Reserve more room to stick to its plan for being patient on raising interest rates.

Excluding food and energy, the so-called core consumer price index rose 0.1 percent from the prior month and 2.1 percent from a year earlier, according to a Labor Department report Tuesday. Those figures trailed the median estimates of economists. The broader CPI rose 0.2 percent from January, the first increase in four months, though the 1.5 percent annual gain missed projections and was the smallest rise since 2016.