Retail inflation softens to 4.4 pct for Feb

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The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.5 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The CPI was up 2.2% in the 12 months through February, compared with 2.1% in January, while the core index increased 1.8% from a year earlier for a third month.

As manufacturing picked up pace, India's factory production growth in January at 7.5 per cent doubled over the 3.5 recorded in the same month previous year, even as retail inflation eased in February, official data showed on Monday.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, so-called core prices rose 0.2%, compared to 0.3% in January.

Tame core goods prices (only 0.1% this month, and -0.5% yr/yr) continue to keep inflation at bay, a reflection of the remaining global economic slack offsetting a tightening U.S. economy.

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Fuel inflation, calculated by adding petrol, diesel, fuel and light components, eased to 5.9% from 6.4% in January.

In the wake of the Great Recession, 2 percent has been the Fed's target for core inflation. Apparel prices rose 1.5% on the month and transportation services increased 1%. The next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee is scheduled on April 4 and 5.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) or factory output for the month of January 2018 jumped by 7.5% - higher compared to previous month in December 2017 where it stood at 7.1%, however the indicator was lower compared to 5-year mark of 8.8% in the month of November 2017.

Tuesday's report showed an index of energy prices rose 0.1% in February, as gasoline and fuel oil costs both fell.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018 /02:01 PM/ Meristem ResearchInflation rate eased to 15.37% YoY in January 2018, 0.24% higher than our forecast of 14.89%.

The brokerage house believes that most month on month decline came from food, as expected.

The February U.S.jobs release was about as goldilocks as one could hope for, as solid heading payrolls gains and upward back revisions, accompanied by retreat in average hourly earnings and a 4-year high in labor force participation. So too has the VIX index - down to a reading of 16.35 after surging to 37.32 last month.

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its benchmark interest rates next week in the first of at least three hikes expected this year - but market watchers are looking for signs the central bank could act more assertively.

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Furthermore, while the S&P lags its all-time high by 3.3 percent, the small cap and domestic focused Russell 2000 trails its by only 1.4 percent.

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