U.S. inflation rate inches up to 2.2% in February

Retail inflation falls Feb, industrial output increases in Jan

Retail inflation eases to 4.4% in February; IIP grows 7.5% in January

Other areas that frequently see price hikes were not showing inflationary pressure in February.

Retail inflation eased for the second straight month in February to 4.4 per cent, while the factory output growth for January was at a two-month high of 7.5 per cent, according to a data released by the Central Statistics Office yesterday.

Monthly core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.2%, following a 0.3% increase in January.

Footwear retail prices rose 1.5% in the month, with gains of 3 percent in women's and 1.8% in men's, and a falloff of 0.5% in boys' and girls'.

Stocks slid as shares of Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet were down more than 1.5 percent each, top losers on the S&P; 500 and the Nasdaq.

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Inflation was 17.57 per cent for vegetables, down from 26.97 per cent in January. The manufacturing sector saw growth quickening marginally to 8.7% in January from 8.4% in the previous month.

Higher growth and a low base effect in capital goods and consumer durables supported the rise in industrial growth for January.

Next week, the Fed is widely expected to raise short-term interest rates for the sixth time since late 2015, when it started lifting rates from almost zero. There's downside bias to 5.1-5.6% inflation forecast for H1FY19 too, it said, adding that February CPI should put to rest concerns about upward spiral in bond yields.

The 1.8% core annual reading was under the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 1.9% and remains under that 2.0% threshold being targeted by the Fed.

While the consumer price index is a popular barometer of economic health, it is not the primary gauge the Fed uses to determine whether it is meeting its mandate of price stability. Policymakers consider the labor market to be near or a little beyond full employment.

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The food index was unchanged, while prices for food at home decreased 0.2%.

Inflation rate for "food and beverages" segment moderated to 3.38 per cent in February from 4.58 per cent in the previous month, while the "fuel and light" inflation rate moderated to 6.80 per cent from 7.73 per cent in January, CSO data showed.

The core CPI was restrained by a moderation in rents. The cost for medical care was also down one-tenth of a percent and recreational costs were flat.

In the last 12-month period, the United States CPI increased 2.2 percent before any seasonal adjustments.

Prices of new motor vehicles fell 0.5 percent, the biggest drop since August 2009, after slipping 0.1 percent in January. Indexes that declined over the past year include communication, new vehicles, airline fares, and used cars and trucks.

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Growth in the Index of Industrial Production quickened to 7.5% in January from 7.07% in December.

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