US inflation falls on plunge in gasoline prices

A sharp drop in gasoline prices eased US inflation in March, government data released Tuesday showed.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index fell 0.2 percent from February, mainly due to a 4.4 percent drop in gasoline prices.

The decline in CPI was slightly more than the 0.1 percent drop expected by most analysts.

Gasoline prices at the pump in March fell sharply amid declining energy after surging in February.

The March energy index fell 2.6 percent in March after a 5.4 percent rise in February.

Food prices were virtually unchanged.

Excluding food and energy, CPI edged up 0.1 percent, including increases in the costs for shelter, medical care and airline fares.

On an annual basis, overall CPI rose 1.5 percent, slower than the 2.0 percent pace of February.

Inflation has been tame as the world's largest economy struggles with tepid growth and high unemployment despite extended stimulus support from the Federal Reserve.