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Consumer spending, closely watched by Fed, rose 0.3% in March

U.S. consumer inflation measured by the personal consumption index rose 0.3% in March and was up 2.7% from a year ago, according to a Friday report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Goods prices, led by gasoline and other energy, rose 0.1%. Filephoto by John Angelillo/UPI
U.S. consumer inflation measured by the personal consumption index rose 0.3% in March and was up 2.7% from a year ago, according to a Friday report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Goods prices, led by gasoline and other energy, rose 0.1%. Filephoto by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- Consumer spending, a key gauge used by the Federal Reserve to measure inflation, rose slightly more than expected in March, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Friday.

The personal consumption expenditures price index increased 2.7% annually, surpassing Dow Jones estimates of 2.6% and 0.3% for the month of March.

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Excluding food and energy, PCE was up 0.3% for the month and 2.8% on an annual basis.

The BEA said the largest contributors to price increases among services were housing, health care and utilities, while gasoline, nondurable goods, and food and beverage prices drove up the price of goods.

"Prices for services increased 0.4% and prices for goods increased 0.1%" the BEA said in a statement. "Food prices decreased less than 0.1% and energy prices increased 1.2 %. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.3%."

Ahead of the PCE key March consumer inflation report Friday Dow Jones economists were expecting a 0.3% rise from February's numbers.

They expected headline PCE for March to be 2.6% higher than a year ago.

For core PCE, which excludes food and energy costs, the expectation was for a 0.3% monthly increase and a 2.7% rise from a year ago.

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These expectations came in the wake of a weaker-than-expected GDP report that sent 10-year and 2-year Treasury yields higher than they've been since November.

Those yields were mixed Friday morning, with 10-year notes down 1.6 points to 4.69% as 2-year notes were less than one point higher at 5.0002%.

In February consumer inflation was up 0.3% over January, which was in line with economists' expectations. February PCE was 2.5% higher than February 2023.

The BEA said Friday personal income was up by $66.5 billion or 0.3% at a monthly rate. Disposable personal income after taxes was up 0.2% for March.

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