Consumer Prices Flat in November

US Fed chairman hints at higher rates following Trump attack
JOHN CARNEY

U.S. consumer prices did not rise in November.

The consumer-price index was unchanged in November, the Labor Department said Wednesday. In October, prices were up 0.3 percent.

The falling price of oil played a role in keeping prices flat. Core inflation, which excludes the volatile food and energy categories, rose 0.2%, the same pace of growth as in October.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the consumer-price index to remain unchanged in November, and core prices to rise 0.2%.

The data show that tariffs are not raising prices for consumers. Car and truck prices, which theoretically could be impacted by the Trump administration’s increase in steel and aluminum tariffs, were flat for the month and are up just 0.3 percent compared with a year ago.

Compared with a year ago, prices are up 2.2 percent, in line with what economists forecast. The Fed says it aims to produce an inflation rate of around 2 percent.

The data on consumer prices will be interpreted in light of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting next week. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates at that meeting but the odds of further hikes in 2019 have dramatically declined. Easing inflationary pressures, which peaked in August, is likely to bolster the view that the Fed can take a “wait and see” approach to hiking rates.

 

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