US Sees Moderate Inflation Rise in February; Consumer Spending Jumps

Federal Reserve Observes Price Index Fluctuations Amidst Strong Consumer Activity

Mar 29, 2024 - 08:59
Mar 29, 2024 - 08:59
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US Sees Moderate Inflation Rise in February; Consumer Spending Jumps
US Sees Moderate Inflation Rise in February; Consumer Spending Jumps

In February, the United States witnessed a modest increase in inflation, coupled with a significant surge in consumer spending, prompting attention from the Federal Reserve regarding potential interest rate adjustments.

According to the latest report from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index rose by 0.3% last month. This uptick, revised from January's 0.4%, reflects a steady but moderate inflationary trend. Year-on-year, PCE inflation reached 2.5%, slightly exceeding economists' expectations.

While there is a noticeable easing of price pressures, the pace of moderation has slowed compared to previous periods, raising considerations for policymakers at the Federal Reserve.

Despite market expectations for potential rate cuts, Fed officials opted to maintain the policy rate within the 5.25%-5.50% range. This decision comes after a significant increase of 525 basis points since March 2022, indicating a cautious approach to monetary policy adjustments.

The core PCE price index, which excludes volatile food and energy components, also saw a 0.3% increase in February, following an upward revision from January's 0.5%. Core inflation, tracking at 2.8% year-on-year, remains in line with the Fed's target of 2%.

Consumer spending, a critical driver of the US economy, experienced a notable jump of 0.8% in February. This robust increase, compared to January's 0.2% uptick, underscores the resilience of consumer activity amidst evolving inflationary trends.

Overall, while inflationary pressures continue to moderate, the Federal Reserve remains vigilant, closely monitoring economic indicators and consumer behavior to guide future monetary policy decisions.

Also Read: Visa and Mastercard Slash Swipe Fees: What it Means for US Banks

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