By Russ Wiles | Arizona Republic
Phoenix-area inflation continues its gradual cooling, but the latest measure shows consumer price pressures here remain among the steepest in the nation even as they declined by one percentage point since the last reading.
The local Consumer Price Index for the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area increased at an 8.5% rate over the 12 months ending in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today. Nationally, inflation ran at a 6% clip over the 12 months through February, showing that the Federal Reserve’s policy of raising interest rates has achieved some success, though the new banking crisis might force a change in strategy.
“It is a tough call for the Fed as they decide whether to continue tightening with a quarter-point hike or stand pat on March 22,” the date of the next central bank meeting, wrote Nationwide Chief Economist Kathy Bostjancic in a commentary. “It is now clear that inflation is not the sole focus of the Fed, as it now needs to take into consideration financial stability and lending conditions.”