Higher gas prices push US December consumer prices

Business | 13 Jan 2021 11:51 pm

U.S. consumer prices edged up by 0.4 percent in December, led by a sharp rise in gasoline prices.

Last month’s increase, the largest in four months, followed a 0.2 percent rise in November and no change at all in October, according to Labor Department numbers released Wednesday.

Inflation for all of 2020 increased by a modest 1.4 percent, well below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target. Analysts believe inflation will remain subdued with the U.S. economy still unable to break out of a pandemic-induced downturn.

For December, energy prices increased by 4 percent with gasoline prices surging by 8.4 percent. Even with that big jump, gasoline prices are 15.2 percent below where they were a year ago, when people were still commuting to work. Food costs climbed by 0.4 percent in December and are 3.9 percent higher than a year ago.

Core inflation, excluding volatile food and energy, climbed by a slight 0.1 percent last month, and just 1.6 percent over the past 12 months.-AP


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