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This key inflation measure slowed sharply in February

The Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed’s yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.

Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that consumer prices rose 0.3 percent from January to February, down from a 0.6 percent increase from December to January. Measured year-over-year, prices rose 5 percent, slower than the 5.3 percent annual increase in January.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation rose 0.3 percent from January and 4.6 percent from a year earlier. Both reflected slowdowns from the previous month. The Fed is believed to pay particular attention to the core measure as a gauge of underlying inflation pressures.



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