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March 17, 2011    

US inflation rises in February

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by Kay Murchie

The Labor Department has today revealed US prices rose by 2.1% on an annual basis in February - up from 1.6% in January.

On a monthly basis, prices rose by 0.5% – the fastest rise since June 2009, driven by higher oil and food costs.

Food costs rose by 0.6% month-on-month, the most in two-and-a-half years, while petrol prices surged by 4.7%.

Today’s figures now take inflation just above the target of closer to 2%.

Several other central banks are battling with stubbornly high inflation but the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, opted earlier this week to keep interest rates at historic lows and stuck to a $600 billion stimulus plan in an effort to further spur growth.

“Commodity prices have risen significantly since the summer, and concerns about global supplies of crude oil have contributed to a sharp run-up in oil prices in recent weeks,” the Fed acknowledged.

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