WASHINGTON — The consumer price index increased 0.5% in February as commodity prices accelerated, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy, increased 0.2% for the month, matching a 0.2% gain in January. February food prices increased 0.6%, the largest spike since September 2008. Energy prices increased 3.4%, following a 2.1 gain in January.

Economists expected CPI to rise 0.4% and core prices to increase 0.1%.

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