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US January Consumer Prices Rose 0.6%, Largest Monthly Gain Since 2013

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Wholesale inflation rises to 5.25% in January

In January alone, food prices increased by 2.3%, led by a 3.4% jump in pork prices, a staple of the Chinese diet.

The report added the main contributors to the increase in the rate were rising prices for motor fuels and to a lesser extent food prices, which were unchanged between December 2016 and January 2017, after declining a year ago.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in January.

That was mainly thanks to higher oil prices and the pound's post-referendum slump. The CPI's shelter component is rising at a 3.5 percent annual rate - last hit in the fading days of the housing bubble in 2007.

On the wholesale price front, the acceleration in January was driven by higher input costs (non-food primary articles, minerals, fuel, basic metals), which more than offset the tepid food inflation reading (barring sugar) caused by demonetisation, said Nomura's Sonal Varma.

ICRA Principal Economist Aditi Nayar said the pass through of higher global prices of commodities into domestic prices, as well as an unfavourable base effect for some sub-groups, pushed up WPI inflation.

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These data indicate that, despite the high headline inflation over the past month, the general trend in prices is far steadier.

At the same time, deflationary pressures from food prices have slowed down, supporting near-term projections by the central bank that inflation will continue to rise over the first quarter of this year, first reaching and then likely surpassing the target of 2 percent for the period. Core inflation was just 1.2 percent. That lifted the year-on-year core CPI increase to 2.3 per cent in January from December's 2.2 per cent rise. On a monthly basis, inflation fell 0.5 last month, compared with a 0.5% increase recorded in the previous month and in line with analysts' expectations.

Inflation was up 0.6 per cent for the month, above the consensus forecast of 0.3 per cent and the highest since February 2013.

The dollar surged in the month after Trump's election on November 8 on expectations he would deliver tax reforms and increase infrastructure spending, reflating the USA economy and spurring the Fed to more dramatic action.

In the 12 months through January, the CPI increased 2.5%, the biggest year-on-year gain since March 2012. The evidence of rising transport costs will increase concerns that inflationary pressures will spread. They are mandated to keep inflation within a very narrow sweet spot close to 2%.

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