A sharp decline in energy prices pushed headline inflation negative in March, while core prices (excluding food and energy) fell based on a steep decline in the price of wireless telephone services. The consumer price index (CPI) declined at a 3.4% annual rate. Core prices declined at a 1.5% annual rate.
Gasoline prices, declining at a 53.5% annual rate, were the largest factor contributing to the 32.3% decline in the broad energy price index. Falling prices for apparel, a -8.1% annual rate, as well as used cars and trucks, a -10.3% annual rate, combined with a 20.1% annual rate of decline in the education and communications index to push core prices lower.