U.S. Inflation Falls in March

U.S. consumer prices fell unexpectedly in March and recorded their first annual drop since 1955, government data showed on Wednesday, as slumping demand pushed down energy and food costs.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased  0.2 percent in March, before seasonal adjustment. The index has  decreased 0.4 percent over the last year, the first 12 month decline since  August 1955.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U decreased 0.1 percent in  March after rising 0.4 percent in February.  The decrease was due to a  downturn in the energy index, which declined 3.0 percent in March after rising 3.3 percent the previous month.  All the energy indexes decreased, particularly the indexes for fuel oil, natural gas, and motor fuel.  The food index declined 0.1 percent for the second straight month to virtually the same level as October 2008.  The food at home index declined 0.4  percent, the second straight such decrease, as the index for dairy and related products continued to decline.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent for the third month in a row.  An 11.0 percent increase in the index for tobacco and smoking products accounted for over sixty percent of the March rise, with a 0.6 percent increase in the new vehicles index also contributing.  In contrast, the indexes for lodging away from home, used cars and trucks, and airline fares continued to decline.  The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.8 percent over the past year.

TradingEconomics.com, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor
4/19/2009 7:16:24 PM