Saturday, September 18, 2010

Consumer Prices Rise, but Underlying Trend Flat

From MSN

Underlying inflation pressures were muted in August, keeping deflation fears alive, even though a rise in food and energy costs drove overall consumer prices higher.

The core consumer price index was flat last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, defying financial market expectations of a 0.1 percent gain. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.1 percent in July.

While the report strengthened the Federal Reserve's bias toward further monetary easing, the data was not so weak that the U.S. central bank is expected to announce new steps to ease monetary policy when it meets on Tuesday to assess the economy, analysts said.

"It keeps alive the possibility that the trend could turn negative over the next year or two, but the numbers are not weak enough to encourage them to start a new purchasing program next week," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global in New York.

The overall CPI rose 0.3 percent, lifted by higher food and energy costs, after a similar gain in July. August's rise was a touch above expectations of a 0.2 percent increase.

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