Stoking U.S. market fears of deflation, core consumer prices saw their smallest 12-month increase, rising only 0.6% over the last year, posting their smallest gain since the Labor Department started keeping records in 1957, according to data released Wednesday.
The consumer price index (CPI) increased just 0.2% in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 1.2% before seasonal adjustment.
The monthly and annual core rates both posted a tenth lower than economists had expected.
“The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in October, the third month in a row with no change. The indexes for shelter and medical care rose, but these increases were offset by declines in an array of indexes including new vehicles, used cars and trucks, apparel, recreation and tobacco,” the BLS said in its news release.
As has frequently been the case in recent months, an increase in the energy index was the major factor contributing to the overall rise in CPI. The gasoline index rose for the fourth month in a row, accounting for almost 90% of the all-items increase, and the household energy index rose as well. The food index rose slightly in October, and rents rose a tenth.