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U.S. consumer price index unchanged in January

Staff Writer |
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the United States was flat in January due to lower energy prices, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

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The CPI, a measurement of inflation, remained unchanged for a third straight month in January, after its reading spiked 0.3 percent in October.

Over the past 12 months, the CPI rose 1.6 percent, slowing down from December's 1.9 percent year-on-year increase, according to the report.

The energy index declined for the third consecutive month, falling 3.1 percent in January, which offset increases in the cost of food and rents.

The gasoline index dropped 5.5 percent, and other major energy component indexes declined more modestly. The food index rose 0.2 percent in January, while the indexes for rent and owners' equivalent rent both rose 0.3 percent.

According to the report, the so-called core CPI, which excludes energy and food costs, edged up 0.2 percent in January compared with the previous month. Over the year, the core CPI increased 2.2 percent.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, which has a 2 percent inflation target, uses the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index as its preferred inflation gauge.

The core PCE price index increased 1.9 percent on a year-on-year basis in November, and the release of the December data was delayed by a five-week partial government shutdown that ended late January.

After concluding its first policy meeting this year on Jan. 30, the Fed left interest rates unchanged as expected and pledged to be patient about future rate hikes.

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