WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Core consumer prices ticked higher in February after three months of holding still at 1.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.
Core prices are all categories minus food and energy, which are often more volatile and can disrupt the data. On a 12-month unadjusted basis in February, core prices rose 2 percent, the bureau said.
Core prices month-to-month in February rose 0.2 percent after going up 0.3 percent in January and 0.1 percent for the two months prior to that.
Annual price inflation for all items in February rose to 2 percent from 1.6 percent, the bureau said.
On a month-to-month basis, prices for all items increased 0.7 percent in February after lying flat in December and January and coming in at minus 0.2 percent in November.
The figures were slightly higher than expected.
The consumer price index was expected to rise 0.5 percent from January to February, not 0.7 percent. The index on an annual basis was expected to hit 1.9 percent, a touch lower than the 2 percent gain reported by the bureau.
Energy prices pushed the index higher in February, with a 5.4 percent climb from January. Gasoline prices alone rose 9.1 percent, the largest contributor to the gain in energy prices overall.
Food prices were more subdued but price gains also accelerated from January when they were flat.
Food prices rose 0.1 percent in February from January.
On a 12-month, unadjusted basis, they are climbing 1.6 percent while energy costs are rising 2.3 percent, the bureau said.