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Old 11-18-2009, 08:42 AM
Franc Tireur Franc Tireur is offline
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Rising fuel prices hit consumers

The government's key inflation measure came in higher than expected due to a 6.3% jump in oil and gas prices.

Consumer prices in October were essentially unchanged from a year ago, the government reported Wednesday, as the rising cost of oil and gas offset earlier price declines.

The Consumer Price Index, the government's key inflation reading, is now down only 0.2% during the past 12 months compared to the same period a year ago. This is the smallest 12-month rate of decline since February.

The so-called core CPI, which is more closely watched by economists because it strips out volatile food and energy prices, is up 1.7% over the past year.

For the month, overall prices rose 0.3%. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a 0.2% rise.

The core CPI rose just 0.2% in the month, but that was higher than the forecast of a 0.1% increase.

A 6.3% rise in fuel prices in the month helped feed the overall monthly increase. The prices of other forms of energy increased in October as well, with electricity costs up 0.6% and natural gas prices rising 1.9%.

Still, overall energy prices are 14% below where they were in October of 2008. The price of oil fell sharply last fall in the wake of the financial crisis and the resulting cut in global demand. But with oil prices on the rise again, future consumer price reports will likely show increases in energy prices over the previous 12 months.

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