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US consumer prices flat in November helped by falling prices of gasoline

Saturday, December 17th 2011 - 03:10 UTC
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Clothing is the exception because of higher cotton costs (Photo by Reuters) Clothing is the exception because of higher cotton costs (Photo by Reuters)

US consumer prices were flat in November as Americans paid less for cars and gasoline, while the 12-month inflation reading fell for the second straight month, which could give the Federal Reserve more room to help a still-weak economy.

The US Labour Department said on Friday the Consumer Price Index was unchanged last month. Food prices rose 0.1%, but the cost of gasoline fell 2.4%.

Economists had expected an increase of 0.1% after a drop of 0.1% in October. Prices rose 3.4% in the 12 months through November.

That is off from the 3-year high of 3.9% clocked in September, and Friday's report backs the view that the spike in inflation is subsiding.

“Core” annual inflation, which strips out food and energy costs, rose from 2.1% in October to 2.2% in November.

Clothing prices have risen at the fastest pace in 20 years over the past 12 months, partly because of higher cotton costs. Clothing costs jumped 0.6% in November, the seventh increase in eight months. In the past 12 months, clothing prices have risen 4.8%.

Economists and investors see inflation cooling over the coming months, which could help convince the Federal Reserve to do more to bring down the country's 8.6% unemployment rate.


Categories: Economy, United States.

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