ShareThis Page
Business Headlines

Consumer prices drop on cheaper gas

| Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Cheaper gasoline lowered overall consumer prices slightly in October. But outside the steep drop at the pump, inflation stayed mild.

The consumer price index fell 0.1 percent last month, down from a 0.2 percent increase in September, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. The October decline was mainly because of a 2.9 percent drop in gasoline costs, the largest since April. During the past 12 months, overall prices have risen 1 percent, well below the Federal Reserve's inflation target of 2 percent.

PNC Bank chief economist Stuart Hoffman said the low inflation reading ensures that the Fed will continue its extra­ordinary measures to spur growth.

“From the Federal Reserve's perspective, inflation is too low, one reason why the central bank continues to provide massive stimulus to the economy,” Hoffman said in a note to clients.

Excluding volatile energy and food costs, so-called core prices rose 0.1 percent in October from September and have risen just 1.7 percent in 12 months. The prices for new vehicles, clothing and medical care fell last month. But airfares rose 3.6 percent.

U.S. gasoline prices began falling in the spring and reached two-year lows earlier this month. The average price of a gallon of gas was $3.21, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The drop in fuel prices may be offset somewhat by slight increases in the cost of food, which rose 0.1 percent. That increase was driven by a 0.6 percent rise in the prices of meats, poultry, fish and eggs, the largest advance for any of the food categories.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me