Consumer prices accelerated in March, though mostly because of gains in gasoline and electricity prices, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Wednesday. 

The consumer price index for all items rose 1.9% over the past 12 months, faster than the 1.5% pace of the prior month and economists' average estimate of a 1.8% increase.

"The gasoline index increased sharply, and the electricity index also rose," according to a statement. 

But excluding volatile energy and food prices, the index rose just 0.1% during the month, less than the 0.2% gain forecast by economists.

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