U.S. consumer prices rise 0.4%
The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in October after coming in unchanged in September. Economists had expected consumer prices to rise by 0.3 percent.
The bigger than expected increase in consumer prices came as energy prices spiked by 2.7 percent in October after tumbling by 1.4 percent in September.
Gasoline prices led the way higher, surging up by 3.7 percent in October following the nosedive seen over the two previous months.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices edged up by 0.2 percent in October after a 0.1 percent uptick in September. The uptick in core prices matched economist estimates.
The modest increase in core prices reflected higher prices for medical care and recreation as well as used cars and trucks, shelter, and personal care.
The core price growth was limited by lower prices for apparel, household furnishings and operations, new vehicles, and airline fares.
Compared to the same month a year ago, consumer prices were up by 1.8 percent in October, reflecting a slight acceleration from the 1.7 percent growth seen in September.
Meanwhile, the annual rate of growth in core consumer prices slowed to 2.3 percent in October from 2.4 percent in September.
"Overall, today's report suggests core inflation is leveling off close to the Fed's 2% target," said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
He added, "Barring a sharp slowdown in economic activity, that supports the Fed's stance of leaving interest rates on hold for an extended period."
On Thursday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release a separate report on producer prices in the month of October.
Producer prices are expected to rise by 0.3 percent in October after falling by 0.3 percent in September, while core prices are expected to tick up by 0.2 percent after dipping by 0.3 percent. ■