U.S. Consumer Prices Up Slightly

By Agence France-Presse U.S. consumer prices rose a modest 0.1% in August, the U.S. government said Sept. 16, in another sign that inflation was in check. The core rate of the consumer price index (CPI), excluding food and energy, also rose 0.1%. Private economists had been predicting a 0.2% rise in both figures. The CPI, the most widely used gauge of inflation at the consumer level, has risen 0.1% in each of the past three months. "This is good news . . . I think the market will treat these as favorable readings and the inflation scare seems to be fading," said Dick Rippe, economist at Wachovia Securities. Over the first eight months of the year, prices were up 3.7%, but just 2.2% when the volatile food and energy components are removed. Over the past 12 months, prices have risen 2.7%, with the core inflation rate at 1.7%. Energy costs fell 0.3% in August after dropping 1.9% in July. Within the energy sector, gasoline prices fell 1.4%. Fuel oil costs rose 5.2%, the smallest increase since January. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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