News / Economy

    US Consumer Prices Flat in November as Gasoline Falls

    A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the market opening, Dec. 16, 2013.
    A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the market opening, Dec. 16, 2013.
    Reuters
    U.S. consumer prices were flat in November, but a bounce back in the annual inflation rate from a four-year low will probably give the Federal Reserve cover to start dialing back its massive monetary stimulus.

    The Labor Department said on Tuesday its Consumer Price Index was restrained last month by declines in gasoline and natural gas prices, after slipping 0.1 percent in October.

    In the 12 months through November, the CPI rose 1.2 percent. It had increased 1.0 percent in October, the smallest advance since October 2009.

    “This is not a game changer. The composition of price changes suggest we are going to see sub-2 percent inflation for some time to come,” said Laura Rosner, economist at BNP Paribas in New York.

    Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer prices nudging up 0.1 percent last month and increasing 1.3 percent from a year ago.

    Stripping out the volatile energy and food components, the so-called core CPI rose 0.2 percent after rising by 0.1 percent for three consecutive months.

    That took the increase over the past 12 months to 1.7 percent, rising by the same margin for a third straight month.

    The Fed targets 2 percent inflation, although it tracks a gage that tends to run a bit below the CPI. The inflation report was released as Fed officials were due to start a two-day meeting to assess the economy and deliberate on monetary policy.

    Though some Fed officials are concerned about inflation being too low, that will probably not stop the U.S. central bank from reducing the pace of its monthly bond purchases.

    Key data including employment, retail sales and industrial production have all pointed to an economy that is on an upswing.

    Some economists expect it to announce a reduction in its $85 billion monthly bond buying program at the end of the meeting on Wednesday, although more believe it will wait until January or March before trimming its purchases.

    Persistently low inflation would probably serve as a caution to officials and see the Fed keeping interest rates low for a long time even after it begins to reduce its bond purchases.

    A 1.6 percent drop in gasoline prices and a 1.8 percent fall in the cost of natural gas offset increases in electricity, keeping inflation subdued last month.

    Gasoline prices had dropped 2.9 percent in October, while natural gas prices had declined 1.0 percent. Food prices rose 0.1 percent in November after ticking up by the same margin the prior month.

    Within the core CPI, apparel prices fell for a third straight month in November, reflecting discounts offered by retailers to lure shoppers and reduce inventory.

    There were, however, gains in rent, which accounts for about a third of the core CPI. The rent index increased 0.3 percent after gaining 0.1 percent in October.

    Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence increased 0.3 percent after rising 0.2 percent in October.

    Demand of rental housing has been rising as Americans shift away from owning a home, putting upward pressure on rents.

    Medical care costs were flat, while prices for new vehicles fell for a second straight month.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9098
    JPY
    USD
    105.75
    GBP
    USD
    0.7631
    CAD
    USD
    1.3189
    INR
    USD
    67.209

    Rates may not be current.