Consumer prices continued to rise in February in the United States, with inflation reaching a new record, the highest since 1982, driven in particular by the rise in gasoline prices with the start of the war in Ukraine. Inflation stands at 7.9% over one year, the highest since January 1982, according to the consumer price index (CPI) published Thursday by the Labor Department. And over one month, the rise in prices accelerated, as expected, to 0.8% against 0.6% in January. Gasoline prices account for almost a third of this acceleration, and jumped 6.6% compared to January.
Other products whose prices increased last month, those of food (+1.0%), especially in stores (+1.4%), while the increase in restaurants is much more moderate (+0 .4%). On the other hand, the prices of used cars, which have increased by 41.2% since February 2021, recorded a small decline over one month (-0.2%), the first since September. “The Russian-Ukrainian war is further fueling the skyrocketing rate of inflation via rising prices for energy, food and basic raw materials, which are inflated by worsening supply chain problems», analyzes Kathy Bostjancic, chief economist for Oxford Economics.
According to her, “this will lead to a higher spike in inflation in the near term and a slower-than-expected slowdown in 2022“. It is thus counting on an inflationby nearly 6.5% on average in 2022 after an increase of 4.7% in 2021“. In the near term, gasoline prices should continue to climb in March, as the price per barrel nears its all-time high from 2008. President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday an embargo on U.S. imports of Russian oil and gas . Despite the surge in prices, the oil groups have, for the moment, refused to frankly accelerate their production, saying they fear a possible reversal of the market if the supply were to become too abundant.
The US Minister of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, on Wednesday asked the country’s oil companies to produce more oil to relieve the market, and therefore prices. Global supply issues remain, and are expected to persist for months. The White House had made the fight against inflation one of its priorities, in particular by increasing production in the United States of semi-conductors, these components whose global shortage is severely slowing down automobile production.