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US consumer inflation growth slowed sharply in February from the previous month as a renewed sell-off in crude translated into cheaper visits to the pump for drivers. But compared to a year ago, CPI was up by the most since 2012.

Headline consumer prices edged up 0.1 in February from the previous month when they rose 0.6 per cent, the Labour Department said on Wednesday. That compared with economists’ expectations that consumer prices were little changed last month and is the smallest one month increase since last July.

On a year-on-year basis, the inflation gauge is up 2.7 per cent, in line with economists’ forecasts — the biggest gain since March 2012.

Stripping out more volatile items like food and energy consumer, prices rose 0.2 per cent in February, from the previous month when they climbed 0.3 per cent. Year-on-year, core consumer prices were up 2.2 per cent.

The rise in consumer prices comes as personal consumption expenditures — the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation approaches the central bank’s 2 per cent target.

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