“Energy prices increased by 33.9% while food prices increased by 9.2%” over one year, the authorities said.
Consumer prices in the United States continued to rise in March, rising 6.6% over one year and 0.9% over one month, according to the PCE inflation index, published Friday by the Department of Trade. This indicator, the preferred measure of the American Central Bank (Fed) to gauge inflation, thus reached a peak in 40 years. The institution is holding its monetary meeting next Tuesday and Wednesday after which it should announce a new rate hike in an effort to control the inflationary spiral.
The other inflation indicator, the CPI index, published by the Department of Labor and used in particular for calculating pensions, showed a price increase of 8.5% in March over one year, the fastest pace rapid since December 1981. The two measures are calculated from different baskets of goods and services, which explains the difference between the two measures.
According to the PCE indicator published on Friday, the increases concern all sectors, both goods and services. “Energy prices increased by 33.9% while food prices increased by 9.2%” over one year, the ministry said in a statement. The dizzying rise in the energy sector was exacerbated after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24 and the economic sanctions that were imposed by Western countries against Moscow.
Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index remained high in March as it rose 5.2% from a year ago. Consequently, households paid more for everything. Their consumer spending thus partly reflects this sharp rise in prices, with an increase of 1.1% compared to February. Their income grew more slowly: +0.5% after 0.7% in February.
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