Inflation in the United States hit a 40-year high as consumer prices surged 8.6% in May, according to the latest data released on Friday.

The costs of gas, food and most other goods and services have been steadily rising as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hits global economies, particularly at the gas pumps.

Ongoing supply chain issues, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, have also contributed to the US’ biggest yearly increase since December 1981.

No respite from rising costs

Consumer prices surged 8.6% last month when compared with May 2021, faster than April’s year-on-year increase of 8.3%, the Labor Department said.

The new inflation figure will add to the pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates.

On a month-to-month basis, prices rose 1% from April to May. From March to April the increase was 0.3%.

Biden struggling to stem the tide

US President Joe Biden, whose popularity has taken a hit as prices surge, has made fighting inflation his top domestic priority, but is finding he has few tools to directly impact prices.

Biden has tried to hammer home his optimistic message about the economic progress in the wake of the pandemic, including rapid GDP growth and record job creation, while pressing Congress to take action to lower costs on specific products.

Rampant inflation in the US is placing severe pressures on families, forcing them to pay much more for food, gas and rent whilst reducing their ability to afford discretionary items.

The announcement also comes amid rising inflation and economic uncertainty in markets around the world.

On Friday, Germany’s central bank upped its inflation prediction for 2022, after inflation in the county hit its highest rate in almost 50 years in May, at 7.9%. The European Central Bank, meanwhile, has signaled plans to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 years starting in July.

jsi/rs (AFP, AP. dpa, Reuters)





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