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Inflation Skyrockets 7.9% to Four-Decade High As Gas Prices Surge

Red-hot Inflation skyrocketed to a fresh four-decade high of 7.9% in February — with consumer pain only expected to get worse in the weeks ahead as the Russia-Ukraine war prompts record prices for gas and other commodities. President Joe Biden has blamed soaring US Inflation on Vladimir Putin after the consumer price index hit another 40-year high of 7.9 percent in February.

The February surge marked the highest annual increase in consumer prices since 1982.  The impact on US households will likely increase after President Biden warned Americans would face “costs” after an import ban on Russian oil and natural gas. The Consumer Price Index — a closely tracked Inflation gauge that details the costs of goods and services — rose 0.8% from January to February. increased at a faster rate than economists expected.

Labor Department officials said price increases for gasoline, shelter, and food were the most significant contributors to the surge. The Consumer Price Index data does not include the most recent spikes in energy costs following the import ban, reflected in the March report. But the alarming data was released during a week in which the national average price of gas hit a record $4.32 per gallon.

Analysts warn that gas prices, a key Inflation driver, could hit $5 or even higher depend on how the market and world leaders react to the Ukraine crisis. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the US benchmark, was trading at about $112 per barrel on Thursday after hovering near $70 just three months earlier. The latest Inflation report will increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to take actions to bring down prices. The central bank is expected to hike its benchmark interest rate at a meeting next week for the first time in three years.

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