Amid Falling Oil Prices, U.S. Inflation Sees First Decline in Months

January 11, 2019

As gasoline prices plunge, U.S. consumer prices in December decreased for the first time in over nine months. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped 0.1 percent last month. This is the weakest, and only negative, reading since March. CPI in the last 12 months through December was up 1.9 percent, down from November’s 2.2 percent year-over-year increase.

The drop is thought to be something of an anomaly, caused by recent turmoil in the oil market, and the overall trend in inflation remains largely unchanged. The “core” CPI, which strips out the volatile energy and food components, increased 0.2 percent in December, the same increase that the index has seen for three consecutive months. The core CPI was up 2.2 percent in the 12 months through December, the same increase as in November. December’s increase was driven primarily by increased costs in healthcare and rent.

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