U.S. Consumer Prices Unexpectedly Unchanged In October

Reflecting many offsetting increases and decreases, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing U.S. consumer prices came in flat in the month of October.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index was unchanged in October after rising by 0.2 percent in September. Economists had expected another 0.2 percent uptick.

Food prices rose by 0.2 percent in October after coming in flat in September, reflecting a 0.3 percent increase in prices for food away from home and a 0.1 percent uptick in prices for food at home.

The report said energy prices inched up by 0.1 percent in October following a 0.8 percent advance in September, as a 1.2 percent jump in prices for electricity was partly offset by a 0.5 percent drop in gas prices.

Excluding food and energy prices, consumer prices were still flat in October after edging up by 0.2 percent in September. Core prices were also expected to inch up by another 0.2 percent.

The Labor Department said a 0.1 percent uptick in prices for shelter was offset by a 0.4 percent decrease in prices for medical care.

Prices for airline fares, recreation, and new vehicles were among those to rise, while prices for motor vehicle insurance, apparel, and household furnishings and operations declined.

Compared to the same month a year ago, consumer prices in October were up by 1.2 percent, reflecting a deceleration from the 1.4 percent growth seen in September.

The annual rate of growth in core consumer prices also slowed to 1.6 percent in October from 1.7 percent in the previous month.

“With the explosion in virus numbers putting downward pressure on demand in the short-term, we expect inflation to remain subdued for a while yet,” said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

On Friday, the Labor Department is schedule to release a separate report on producer price inflation in the month of October.

Both producer prices and core producer prices are expected to edge up by 0.2 percent in October after rising by 0.4 percent in September.

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