ECONOMY
Consumer prices rose slightly in Feb.

Consumer prices increased at a modest pace in February, underscoring that inflation pressures appear to be muted for now.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index increased 0.2 percent last month, after a sharper 0.5 percent rise in January. Core prices — which exclude the volatile food and energy categories — also climbed 0.2 percent. Overall, consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in February from a year earlier, while core prices rose 1.8 percent from a year ago for the third straight month.

Inflation fears have intensified this year after a report last month suggested that wages were rising more quickly, which can push up prices. Subsequent data have shown that hourly pay gains remain moderate. Sluggish pay increases have helped keep inflation dormant for most of the past decade.

— Associated Press

TECHNOLOGY
Amazon recalls portable chargers due to fire

Amazon.com has recalled some of its portable chargers in the United States following reports of overheating and fire, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday.

The watchdog for safety and quality of consumer products said about 260,000 units of six kinds of power banks — manufactured in China by Guoguang Electric for the Amazon Basics line — were part of the recall.

Amazon has received 53 reports of these power banks overheating, which include incidents of battery acid burns and property damage from fire.

The CPSC statement said Amazon is in contact with users who have purchased these items.

Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.

— Reuters

AUTO INDUSTRY
VW plans 16 plants for electric vehicles

Volkswagen secured $25 billion in battery supplies to underpin an aggressive push into electric cars in the coming years, ramping up pressure on Tesla as it struggles with production issues for the mainstream Model 3.

The world’s largest carmaker will equip 16 factories to produce electric vehicles by the end of 2022, compared with three in operation, Volkswagen said Tuesday in Berlin. The German manufacturer’s plans to build as many as 3 million electric cars a year by 2025 is supported by deals with suppliers including Samsung, LG Chem and Contemporary Amperex Technology for batteries in Europe and China.

With the power pack deliveries secured for its two biggest markets, a deal for North America will follow shortly, Volkswagen said. In total, the automaker has said it plans to purchase about 50 billion euros ($62 billion) in batteries as part of its electric-car push, which includes three new models in 2018 with dozens more following. 

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

Vice Media has appointed Nancy Dubuc, the former head of the A&E Networks, to be its chief executive as the company tries to rebound from sexual misconduct allegations. Dubuc had stepped down Monday at A&E. She's been a Vice board member and worked with the company to develop the Viceland cable network. Vice co-founder Shane Smith said in a statement Tuesday that he'll let Dubuc run the company while he concentrates on making deals and creating content. Vice apologized for a "boy's club" culture that was uncovered in December when the New York Times said it had talked to more than two dozen women who had experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct at the company.

The Winklevoss twins have taken on their next project in the cryptocurrency world: regulation. The brothers, who run the Gemini exchange for trading bitcoin and ether, have submitted a proposal to create the Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulatory organization meant to police digital-currency markets and custodians. The nonprofit would aim to develop industry standards, promote transparency and work with regulators, including the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to prevent fraud, the brothers said in a statement Tuesday.

The Financial Services Roundtable, whose members include the biggest U.S. banks and payments companies, is merging with the Clearing House Association, a Wall Street trade group, the two groups announced in a statement on Tuesday. Clearing House president Greg Baer will lead the combined group. Tim Pawlenty, president of the Financial Services Roundtable, announced last month he would step down.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases retail sales data for February.

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for February.