Inflation creeps upward in U.S.

Washington, Mar 15 (EFE).- Consumer prices in the United States rose 0.7 percent in February, the sharpest monthly increase since June 2009, the Labor Department said Friday.

A 9.1 percent spike in gasoline prices was the main culprit in the rise in the Consumer Price Index, the department said.

The core-CPI, which excludes prices of food and energy, climbed more modest 0.2 percent in February. Energy prices increased 5.4 percent overall last month, while food prices advanced only 0.1 percent, according to the Labor Department figures.

On an annual basis, both CPI and core-CPI were up 2 percent in February, a level considered acceptable by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Inflation-adjusted median hourly earnings declined 0.6 percent in February.

The Producer Price Index, a measure of prices at the wholesale level, grew 0.7 percent last month and by 1.7 percent since February 2012, the government said in a report released Thursday.