The important thing inflation indicator for the Fed rose as anticipated by 0.3% in March

Despite a year of rate hikes, inflation picked up again in March, according to economic data released on Friday, which the Federal Reserve is closely monitoring.

The price index for personal consumption spending excluding food and energy rose 0.3% this month, in line with the Dow Jones estimate. On an annual basis, so-called core PCE rose 4.6%, slightly higher than the 4.5% expectation and 0.1 percentage point lower than a month ago.

Including the volatile food and energy components, headline PCE for the month also rose 0.1%, up 4.2% year-on-year, from February’s 5.1%. That metric peaked at around 7% in June 2022, the highest since December 1981.

Another key inflation measure, the labor cost index rose 1.2% in the first quarter, beating the 1% estimate.

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