US consumer prices increased 0.3% in January in line with market expectation, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures changes in the price of goods and services from consumers’ perspective, rose 0.4% in December.

On an annual basis, CPI increased 1.4% last month, from the same month in 2020, while market consensus was a rise of 1.5% year-over-year.

“Although the indexes for electricity and natural gas declined, the energy index rose 3.5% over the month,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The gasoline index continued to increase in January, rising a whopping 7.4% last month along with crude oil prices.

Core consumer prices, which excludes food and energy, remained unchanged in January, but were up 1.4% year-over-year.

The Federal Reserve closely watches inflation figures in the world’s largest economy that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The central bank indicated in recent months that it may allow inflation to climb above its target of 2% for some time until the economy fully recovers and before it increases interest rates.

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