US inflation accelerates to 40-year high

Washington DC: Consumer inflation in the United States likely set another 40-year high in February — and it won’t even reflect the oil and gas spikes of the past week, which will likely catapult prices even higher in coming months.

Energy prices, which soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, jumped again this week after President Joe Biden said the United States would bar oil imports from Russia.

A report Thursday from the government is expected to show that consumer inflation leaped 7.9 percent in February compared with 12 months earlier, according to data provider FactSet. That would be the biggest such increase since January 1982. Analysts have also estimated that prices rose 0.7% from January to February.

For most Americans, inflation is running far ahead of the pay raises that many have received in the past year, making it harder for them to afford necessities like food, gas, and rent. As a consequence, inflation has become the top political threat to Biden and congressional Democrats as the midterm elections draw closer. Small business people now say in surveys that it’s their primary economic concern, too.

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