Falling energy prices hold United States consumer inflation to 0.1% in December

Falling energy prices hold United States consumer inflation to 0.1% in December

Retail inflation, measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit a 15-month high at 4.88 percent in November.

According to the data released by The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, retail inflation went up mostly due to hardening fuel and vegetable prices.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted December's consumer inflation rate would climb to 5.10 percent, the highest since July 2016, from 4.88 percent in November. The US central bank hiked borrowing costs three times in 2017.

Low inflation has made the Federal Reserve cautious about raising interest rates too quickly.

USA energy prices were up sharply a year ago compared to 2016, with petrol rising almost 11% and fuel oil up more than 15%.

He said this forecast was based on a view that inflation will begin to show bigger gains in coming months. Economists were expecting to see a 0.2% rise in price pressures.

Over the past 12 months, overall inflation is up 2.1 percent while core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 1.8 percent.

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Economists are hoping that a tightening labor market, rising commodity prices and a weak dollar will lift inflation toward the Fed's 2% target this year. The December decline was led by a 2.7 per cent drop in the price of gasoline, which had jumped 7.3 per cent in November.

The producer price index for final demand edged down by 0.1% in December after climbing by 0.4% in November.

Meanwhile, used vehicle and truck prices jumped 1.4% in the month, while new auto prices gained 0.6%.

Prices of medical care rose 0.3%, as the index for prescription drugs advanced 1%.

Sales last month were supported by a 1.2% jump in receipts at gardening and building material stores.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices still dipped by 0.1% in December following a 0.3% increase in November.

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