The Consumer Price Index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1% for February, according to a Labor Department report (link opens as PDF) released today. 

After edging up an identical 0.1% for January, analysts' expectations for February proved spot-on. 


Source: Labor Department. 

According to the report, the index's increase was largely due to an uptick in food prices, which increased 0.4%, the most in nearly 2½ years. Beef prices jumped 4% in February, the most in more than 10 years, as recent droughts have pushed up cattle feed prices. Milk, cheese and other dairy prices also rose.

Energy prices decreased 0.5%, pulled down by gasoline (-1.7%), and energy commodities (-1.3%). Piped utility gas services increased a sharp 3.6% on top of January's equally large jump.

Excluding more volatile food and energy prices, overall prices still clocked in a 0.1% gain, equal to analyst expectations. 

Over the last 12 months, the CPI has headed 1.1% higher, fueled primarily by rising food prices (+1.4%). Since February 2013, energy prices have dropped 2.5%. Gas guzzlers can celebrate an 8.1% drop in gasoline, followed close behind by a 6.8% discount on energy commodities prices.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Compare Brokers