Rise in Consumer Price Index triggers inflation fears

Rise in Consumer Price Index triggers inflation fears

Feb. 14 (UPI) — The Consumer Price Index rose a half-percent last month, well above the market estimate of 0.2 percent — marking the biggest increase in five months and spurring concerns about coming U.S. inflation.

The CPI report, which indicates inflation trends, showed a rise in the cost of living for January that was driven by higher gasoline prices.

The Labor Department said the cost of food, housing, medical care and car insurance also rose last month.

The annual movement of the CPI is a bellwether statistic for inflation forecasts, and is one of the most closely watched national economic statistics.

Inflation fears stemming from the report led to U.S. market reaction Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average opening down more than 100 points before recovering after 30 minutes of trading.

Earlier this month, domestic markets tanked after another report by the department revealed the biggest rise in hourly pay since 2009.

Wall Street also has eyes on the Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise interest rates three times this year.

The price increases in January notwithstanding, the Consumer Price Index has remain unchanged at 2.1 percent over the past 12 months, the report noted.