US Consumer Prices Climb for Fourth Month

16 April 2004

US consumer prices have risen for the fourth consecutive month, prompting speculation that the Federal Reserve may soon raise interest rates.

The Labor Department's consumer price index -- a closely watched guide to inflation -- increased 0.5% in March, after a 0.3% rise the month before.

Excluding the volatile energy and food sectors, the CPI climbed 0.4% in March, the highest monthly gain since November 2001.

The news follows figures from the Commerce Department that show a 1.8% rise in retail sales last month -- more than double the increase predicted by analysts.

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff