Consumer Prices Slip in December

Fed's Powell unsettles markets - again

U.S. consumer prices notched lower in December.

The consumer-price index fell 0.1  percent in the final month of 2018, the Labor Department said Friday.  That was in line with expectations.

In November, the index was flat. In October, it rose 0.3 percent.

That means that far from inflation picking up speed, the rate of price increases is decelerating. This may reassure Federal Reserve policymakers that they can afford to be patient in hiking rates.

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

Compared with a year ago, the CPI is 1.9 percent higher than a year ago, a decline from . the prior month’s reading of an annual gain of 2.2 percent.  Core CPI is 2.2 percent higher, exactly where it was in November.

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