White House predicts ‘unusually high’ inflation

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that the Labor Department’s earlier report showed prices rose at a breakneck pace in February. That did not include much of the increase in oil costs. gas caused by the Kremlin’s special military operation.

“We expect March CPI to show an unusually high rise in headline inflation due to Mr. Putin’s price hike,” Ms. Psaki told reporters.

“We expect a large differential between core and headline inflation, reflecting global disruptions in food and energy markets,” she continued.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its March update on the consumer price index, or CPI, on Tuesday. The CPI is a tool to measure inflation in a basket of goods and services the average American would buy – from eggs and milk to cell phones and unleaded gasoline.

Economists look at two versions of CPI data: Headline inflation includes all prices paid by consumers, and core inflation excludes food and energy price movements.

The White House said it expected a larger-than-normal spread between headline and core inflation due to the unusual gas price spike that occurred last month. According to the American Automobile Association, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline hit a record high of $4.33 on March 11. That price has now dropped to $4.11 a gallon, according to AAA.

Labor Department data for several months show annual prices skyrocketing to levels not seen since former President Ronald Reagan took a job in the Oval Office in the West Wing of the White House. The February data showed that consumer inflation had increased by 7.9% over the past 12 months, the highest level since January 1982.

The March report will be released on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. ET (7:30 p.m. ET).

The press secretary noted that President Joe Biden has taken a number of steps to help reduce energy costs, including the move to release about 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. .

On the last day of March, Biden blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the recent spike in energy costs.

“Many people are no longer buying Russian oil around the world. I banned Russian oil imports in the US, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called for it and support it. It’s the right thing to do. need to do,” Biden said on March 31.

“But as I said at the time, this will come with a price. As Russian oil leaves the global market, oil supply falls and prices go up. Now, your price hike. Putin is making Americans suffer,” the president added.

A bill backed by the White House and Democrats in Build Back Better could also help cut health care and childcare costs, Psaki added.

Minh Phuong

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