U.S. Consumer Prices up 0.4% in August

Higher gas prices drove increase

Driven by higher gasoline costs, U.S. consumer prices rose 0.4% in August, the Labor Department said on Sept. 16.

The consumer price index (CPI) showed a year-over-year decline of 1.5%, in a report being monitored for signs of deflation rather than inflation in light of the weak economy.

The report showed a 0.1% monthly increase in the "core" CPI, excluding volatile food and energy costs, a figure that some economists say offers hints of future inflation trends.

The core index was up 1.4% over the last 12 months, the smallest 12-month increase in the index since February 2004.

The overall CPI was lifted by a 9.1% rise in the gasoline index, which accounted for 80% of the overall increase in consumer prices. But despite the August increase, the gasoline index has fallen 30% over the last 12 months.

The CPI report was roughly in line with analyst forecasts for a 0.3% increase in overall prices and a 0.1% rise in the core CPI.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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