WASHINGTON, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.7 percent in February,led by a surge in gas price, a Labor Department report said on Friday.
The report said that energy prices jumped 5.4 percent last month. Gasoline prices increased 9.1 percent, accounting for almost three-fourths of the gain in the consumer price index. Meanwhile, food costs rose slightly by 0.1 percent.
Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the so- called "core" inflation index rose 0.2 percent in February.
The U.S. CPI has risen 2.0 percent in the 12 months ending February, reaching the Federal Reserve's target inflation level.
Economists monitor the core prices to get a sense of broader inflation trends, a key barometer for monetary policy decisions of the central bank.
A separate report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed that due to an increase of energy prices, U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.7 percent in February, the biggest gain in five months.