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Rising gas prices pushed up inflation in February

New York CNN  —  Higher prices at the gas pump pushed up inflation more than expected in February, according to the latest Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, price hikes did slow in some key areas, fueling a touch of positive news for the Federal Reserve and consumers alike. The closely watched inflation gauge showed that prices rose by 3.2% for the 12 months ended in February, the BLS said Tuesday. That’s up from January’s annual reading of 3.1%, and higher than economists’ expectations. On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.4% in February, the fastest rate in months. Economists were expecting monthly inflation to rise 0.4% from January, according to FactSet consensus estimates. Excluding gas and food prices, categories that tend to be more volatile, “core” inflation rose 0.4% from the month before, bringing the annual rate to 3.8%, a slowdown from 3.9% in January.