U.S. inflation accelerated in February to a fresh four-decade high, signaling supply and demand imbalances were little improved amid soaring gas prices.
The Consumer Price Index rose 7.9% over the past 12 months, the fastest since 1982, the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.8% in February, faster than the 0.6% increase reported for January.
So-called core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.5% in February, slower than analysts' expectations. The core inflation rate was driven by increases in shelter prices as well as for recreation, household furnishings and airline fares.
Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, held steady at $39,300 five minutes after the report was released. Some traders view bitcoin as a hedge against inflation given its limited supply.
"Bitcoin declined after both a sixth consecutive hot inflation report and hopes collapsed for an immediate diplomatic resolution between Ukraine and Russia," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. "Bitcoin remains locked into the risk trade and will continue to trade off incremental updates from Ukraine."
Gasoline prices rose 6.6% in February, accounting for a third of the monthly increase in the overall price index, the bureau said. Analysts say rising oil prices will push inflation higher and thus push bitcoin higher.
The food-at-home index jumped a staggering 8.6% since February 2021, the largest yearly increase since 1981, the Labor Department said. Beef rose 16% over the same time period.
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