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Economic Preview: What it means for the Fed as inflation wakes from Rip Van Winkle slumber

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Is inflation in the U.S. blowing up after years of being flat? Hardly.

The menace of higher inflation has been absent in the U.S. for a long time, but a bigger gust of rising prices is sure to grab the attention this week of the powerbrokers who determine the cost of borrowing.

A gauge known as the personal consumption expenditure price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of U.S. inflation, might hit the central bank’s 2% target for the first time since 2012. If the warning signs flash bright enough, the Fed might even be induced to raise a key interest rate as soon as March.

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