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The Consumer Price Index, a broad measure of the costs of all goods and services across the economy, rose 0.4% for the month of March bringing the 12-month inflation rate to 3.5%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday. 

The acceleration in the monthly inflation rate, largely due to rising costs for shelter and gasoline, was above what many economists had expected and could undermine the Federal Reserve Board’s plan to reduce interest rates this summer. Stocks fell in early trading Wednesday after the hotter-than-expected inflation report was released. 

During the month of March, shelter costs increased 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis, bringing the year-over-year unadjusted increase to 5.7%. The price of gasoline rose 1.7% during March, bringing the 12-month increase to 1.3%. Combined the shelter and gasoline indexes contributed to more than half of the all-items increase for the month of March. 

Overall, the energy index rose 1.1% for the month and is up 2.1% compared to March of 2023. Within the energy index, the cost of electricity increased 0.9% for the month and is up 5% compared to a year ago. Natural gas prices were flat for March and are down 3.7% compared to March 2023. 

The overall food index rose 0.1% percent in March and is up 2.2% on an annual basis. The food at home index was unchanged for the month of  March, but the cost of food away from home increased 0.3%.  

The core index, which excludes the more volatile food and energy indexes, rose 0.4% in March, as it did the previous two months. Indexes which increased in March include shelter, motor vehicle insurance, medical care, apparel, and personal care. The indexes for used cars and trucks, recreation, and new vehicles were among those that decreased over the month.  

On an annual basis, the index for all items excluding food and energy, has increased 3.8% compared to March 2023.