The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report was recently released and confirmed what economists anticipated: consumer inflation has risen 7.9% over the past year, the largest spike since 1982— none of which is a surprise for anyone who has visited a gas station lately. (1)
With the price of gasoline trending higher, it may be tempting to attribute these prices to the global economic disruptions caused by Russia's aggression toward Ukraine. However, the latest CPI reflected the 12-months ended in February and didn't include most of the oil and gas price increases that followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. (2)
There is a slight silver lining within the CPI, however. The food away from home index, which tracks restaurant purchases, rose 0.4 percent in February after increasing 0.7 percent in January. This could indicate strengthening consumer confidence despite inflation, as consumers continue to eat out. (3)
What does this all mean for consumers? It's hard to say, but some predict further inflationary pressures, while others wait and see what the Fed says at its meeting this week.
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(1). ABC7.com, March 10, 2022 (2). BLS.gov, March 10, 2022 (3). Ers.usda.gov, March 10, 2022
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