Inflation, Still Sky-High, Slightly Cools As Fed Weighs More Rate Hikes

Prices grew 0.4% on a monthly basis in February, falling slightly from January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Tuesday, as economists questioned the impact of the report on the Federal Reserve’s upcoming decision to raise interest rates.

On an annual basis, prices climbed 6%, driven primarily by a spike in shelter, which was up 8.1% year-over-year, according to the BLS. The number matched economists’ expectations, and comes at a crucial time for the Federal Reserve, which has been aggressively hiking interest rates in a bid to slow economic activity and reduce stubbornly high inflation, according to CNBC.

The Federal Reserve was widely expected to hike interest points by at least a quarter of a percentage point at its March 21-22 meeting, with some economists anticipating a half a percentage point hike if Tuesday’s inflation report came in above expectations, CNBC reported. However, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the second largest bank failure in U.S. history, has prompted some economists to question whether the Fed will hike rates at all.

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