Higher gasoline and clothing prices helped push up US consumer prices by 0.4% in February, new figures show.

According to The Consumer Price Index published yesterday (18 March) by the US Department of Labor, apparel prices rose 1.3% in February after increasing 0.3% in January. 

The index for men's and boys' apparel rose 2.8% and the index for women's and girls' apparel advanced 0.8%.

Before seasonal adjustment, apparel prices rose 3.5% in February and were up 0.8% over the past year.

On a year-over-year basis, consumer prices were up 0.2% after being flat in January.

Core prices, which exclude food and energy items, were 0.2% higher than in February last year.

The higher prices have helped calm fears of deflation, which can cause consumers to hold off making purchases in the hope that prices will fall even further.