CPI up 0.1% for August as Fuel Oil, Food, Medical Care Cost More


The Consumer Price Index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1% for August, according to a Labor Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.

After cheap natural gas kept July's Index to 0.2% gains, analysts' expectations for August proved right on the money.

Source: Labor Department.

According to the report, the Index's edge up was largely a result of steady 0.1% gains in food prices (pushed higher by more expensive fruits, vegetables and meats), as well as a 1.2% jump in fuel oil and a 0.7% increase in medical care services. Utilities marked a third month of declines with a significant 2.3% dip. Excluding more volatile food and energy prices, the CPI still managed 0.1% gains.

The shelter index increased 0.2%, the same increase it notched in June and July, with the rent index increasing 0.4% and the index for "owners' equivalent rent" rising 0.2%.

Today's report showed gas prices slipped 0.1% last month, the first drop since April. New-car prices were unchanged. Travel costs eased: Air fares plunged 3.1% , the third straight drop. Hotel prices fell 0.7%.

Over the last 12 months, the CPI has headed 1.5% higher, pushed up by a 3.2% increase in energy services. Overall energy prices have remained low, however, with energy commodities dipping 2.2% and gasoline specifically notching a 2.4% decline. Food prices are up 1.4% in the last year.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report. link

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