The central bank’s preferred inflation measure cooled again in March

Minneapolis (CNN) The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure cooled further in March, a sign that the central bank’s massive interest-hike campaign is under way, according to new data released by the Commerce Department on Friday.

The price index for personal consumption expenditures rose 4.2% in the 12 months ended March, from an upwardly revised 5.1% in February.

The closely watched core PCE index, which excludes the more volatile components of food and energy, is also lower, albeit more modest. The core PCE price index rose 4.6% for the year, easing slightly from the 4.7% growth rate noted in February.

On a monthly basis, the headline and major indices grew by 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. In the previous month, both the headline and core PCE indices rose 0.3%.

Economists had expected the core PCE index to rise 0.3% from the previous month and 4.5% for the 12 months ended March, according to consensus estimates on Refinitiv.

Consumer spending was flat in March, down significantly from a brisk January.

Economists expect spending to fall 0.1% on a monthly basis.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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