US Consumer Prices Rise by Less Than Expected

US Consumer Prices Rise by Less Than Expected

Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said its U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% in April, after decreasing 0.1% in March.

Core prices, which exclude volatile energy and food, rose 0.2 percent in April.

United States consumer prices rose by less than forecast in April as costs for automobiles and airfares declined, reducing chances that inflation will run significantly above the Federal Reserve's target in coming months.

Shelter costs were up a more modest 0.3 percent, but that category has a much bigger impact on the headline CPI number and has been trending up in recent months. In the 12 months through April, the CPI increased 2.5 percent, the biggest gain since February 2017, after rising 2.4 percent in March. Hotel and motel rates, which had posted an outsize gain in March, rose 0.8% in April. Other gauges broadly show stronger inflation in the U.S. The Commerce Department said last week its price index for personal-consumption expenditures was up 2% from a year earlier in March.

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Food costs were also higher, rising 0.3 percent. Food prices fell 1.1%. The news provided reason to be bullish as concern mounted about tension between Israel and Iran just days after U.S. President Donald Trump ditched a nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic.

Apparel prices rose and costs of household furniture increased 0.5 percent last month, the largest in three years. Owners-equivalent rent, one of the categories created to track rental prices, advanced 0.3%.

The United States said on Tuesday it plans to impose new sanctions against Iran after abandoning an agreement reached in late 2015 that curbed Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for removal of US and European sanctions. There were also decreases in the cost of airline tickets, new motor vehicles and communications. The advance in April was led by the index for final demand trade services, which increased 0.2 percent. The dollar fell after the report suggested inflation isn't flaring up in a way that would be troublesome for policymakers, despite higher freight costs, a 17-year low in the unemployment rate and tariffs that are burdening businesses. Claims dropped to 209,000 during the week ended April 21, which was the lowest level since December 1969. A government report on Tuesday showed job openings rising to a record 6.6 million in March.

Hiring slowed in March and April after surging in February.