Consumer Prices Barely Rise in November
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in five months in November as flat energy prices and a drop in tobacco costs helped keep inflation tame, the Labor Department said on Tuesday.
The Consumer Price Index, the government's main inflation gauge, gained just 0.1 percent last month and increased a moderate 0.2 percent in the closely watched ``core'' component, which strips out food and energy costs. Those increases followed rises of 0.2 percent in both the overall and core indexes in October.
November's 0.1 percent rise in the CPI was the smallest gain since June, when the index was unchanged.
Coming at a time when the Federal Reserve and financial markets have been concerned about the threat of an overheating in the robust U.S. economy, the November CPI report should offer reassuring news. The Fed has bumped up interest rates three times this year, but is widely expected to stay on hold at its final meeting of the year, on Dec. 21.
The latest CPI data was even more benign than economists in a Reuters survey had expected. Those economists had projected gains of 0.2 percent in both the overall and core CPI.
In November, food costs inched up 0.1 percent, housing costs rose 0.3 percent and medical care prices jumped 0.4 percent. Tobacco prices declined 0.9 percent, while apparel costs slid 0.5 percent.