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Area prices rise slightly

| Saturday, Aug. 17, 2002

Higher prices for food, beverages and medical care fueled a narrow, 0.3 percent rise of the Pittsburgh area Consumer Price Index over the first half of 2002, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The index now stands at 172.9 from the 1982-84 reference base of 100. The bureau translates the index to mean a basket of goods that had an average cost of $100 in the 1982-84 period had a cost of $172.90 during the first six months of 2002.

Food and beverage prices rose 3.4 percent, while medical care costs rose 4.1 percent. That increase follows a 3 percent increase in the previous 12-month period.

Prices in five of the eight categories tracked by the index were up from the year-ago period for the six months ended June 30. A 0.1 percent increase in the housing index was offset by the fuels and utilities index, which fell 13.4 percent.

The three categories that fell included transportation (4.3 percent), apparel (4.5 percent) and energy (15.6 percent).

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