U.S. Consumer Prices Rise 0.2% In August, Less Than Expected
(RTTNews) - A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a modest increase in U.S. consumer prices in the month of August.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.2 percent in August, matching the increase seen in July. Economists had expected prices to climb by 0.3 percent.
The modest increase in consumer prices was partly due to a jump in energy prices, which surged up by 1.9 percent in August after falling by 0.5 percent in July. Gasoline prices led the way higher, spiking by 3.0 percent.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices inched up by 0.1 percent in August after rising by 0.2 percent for three straight months. Core prices had been expected to show another 0.2 percent increase.
The uptick in core prices reflected higher prices for shelter as well as increases in prices for airline fares and used cars and trucks.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said an array of indexes declined, including apparel, medical care, communication, recreation, and personal care.
The report also said the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 2.7 percent in August from 2.9 percent in July.
Core consumer prices were up by 2.2 percent year-over-year in August compared to the 2.4 percent increase in the previous month.
"There is no reason to suspect that the weaker increase in consumer prices in August is the start of another dip like we saw in early 2017," said Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
He added, "With labor market conditions tight, wage growth accelerating and input prices being pushed up by capacity constraints and recently imposed tariffs, there is plenty of upward pressure on prices."
On Wednesday, the Labor Department released a separate report unexpectedly showing a modest drop in producer prices in the month of August.
The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged down by 0.1 percent in August after coming in unchanged in July. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.
Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices still edged down by 0.1 percent in August following a 0.1 percent uptick in July. Core prices had been expected to increase by 0.2 percent.