The Fed: CPI has market locking in March rate hike and moving toward 4 Fed increases this year

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will discuss his inflation outlook when he testifies to Congress for the first time on Feb. 28.

The hotter-than-expected consumer price data for January adds to a growing expectation among economists that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates with four quarter-point moves this year, rather than the three they penciled in last December, economists said.

“I think this does cement the four rate hikes, given the inflation backdrop,” said Jeffrey Cleveland, chief economist at Payden &Rygel, an investment management firm based in Los Angeles.

U.S. consumer prices rose 0.5% in January, the biggest monthly increase since August 2012.

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