U.S. Inflation Cools in February

U.S. consumer prices rose at a slower pace in February, as clothing and housing costs rose last month, while motor vehicle and gasoline prices dipped.

Figures released Wednesday by the U.S Labor Department showed consumer prices rose but 0.1% in February, a sharp deceleration from the 0.6% jump in January. But the Federal Reserve appears to be poised Wednesday to raise a key short-term rate for the third time since late 2015 as inflation has picked up after running consistently below the central bank's 2% target.

The department said consumer prices have risen 2.7% over the past year. Excluding volatile food and energy categories, prices have increased 2.2%.

Several key categories are running above that average. Housing costs have risen 3.5% during the year, while the price of medical treatment has climbed 3.4%.