That boosted the year-on-year increase in the so-called core PPI to 2.7 percent, the biggest gain since August 2014, from 2.5 percent in January. 'As expected, CPI inflation eased to 4.44 percent in February 2018, compared to 5.07 percent in the previous month, with all the components witnessing a decline in prices except for health, clothing and footwear, transport and communication.
The overall CPI increased 0.2% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.5% in January and was up 2.2% from a year earlier.
What matters here is that this more or less continues some of the more muted inflationary pressures that had been seen in hourly wages in February versus January, seen in last Friday's unemployment and payrolls report.
Underlying producer prices increasing solidly in February, driven by strong gains in the cost of services such as hotel accommodation, airline fares and hospital inpatient care, other data showed on Wednesday.
Including energy and food prices, the annual inflation reached 2.2% against 2.1% in January.
In men's, price increases of 4.3% in shirts and sweaters and 1.2% in trousers and shorts were partially offset by decreases of 0.8% in furnishings and 0.2% in the suits, sport coats and outerwear group. There were still very strong expectations of a rate increase at next week's FOMC policy meeting, with futures markets indicating an 86% chance of a further 0.25% hike in rates.
The Fed has forecast three interest rate increases this year.
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A survey of small businesses published on Tuesday showed the share of owners reporting higher selling prices in February hit its highest level since July 2014.
Fed officials target 2% annual inflation based on a separate index, the Commerce Department's gauge linked to consumer spending. Core prices were up 1.8% on the year.
Spanish CPI increased due to higher rates in housing and electricity in the latest period whereas these sectors have recorded a drop in prices in the year-ago period.
Ramped up inflation could cause the Fed to pick up the pace of interest rate increases this year. Over shorter horizons, the core CPI has accelerated. Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence, which is what a homeowner would pay to rent or receive from renting a home, rose 0.2 percent last month after advancing 0.3 percent in January.
The energy in the United States appreciated by 0.1% in February, while food costs remained unchanged.
Shelter costs rose 0.2 percent from the previous month.