Monthly consumer price index

The US Labor Department's consumer price index rose 0.3 percent last month. The February increase, coupled with the 0.2 percent rise for January, means inflation is running at a moderate annual rate of 3.3 percent so far for 1985. The rate would be lower than 1984's 4 percent inflation and would make 1985 the fourth low-inflation year in a row for the country.

Inflation as measured by another government yardstick, the gross national product's price deflator, looked worse. It was estimated last week to be running at 5.6 percent for 1985. Analysts discount this rate somewhat, however, saying it is skewed by some developments not likely to recur.

Analysts attributed the February CPI hike to a relatively steep rise in food and clothing prices. Energy prices were lower, but industry experts predict these will rise in the weeks ahead.

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