The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that consumer prices were flat in June. Energy prices decreased 1.6 percent, falling for the fourth time in the past five months, with gasoline prices off 2.8 percent in June. This was largely consistent with data from the Energy Information Administration, which noted that the weekly average price for regular conventional gasoline was $2.308 on May 29 but fell to $2.201 on June 26. In contrast, food prices were flat for the month, with higher costs for meats, poultry, fish and eggs offset by lower prices in other categories. Over the past 12 months, food and energy costs have increased 0.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
Overall, the consumer price index increased 1.6 percent year-over-year in June, its lowest rate since October. This suggests that the acceleration in pricing pressures that peaked at a 2.8 percent year-over-year rate in February has slowed since then. With that said, year-over-year consumer inflation was 1.0 percent in June 2016, suggesting that overall prices have still trended slightly higher over the past year despite some deceleration in that pace over the past few months.
Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy costs, edged up 0.1 percent in June, mirroring its increases in both April and May. Excluding food and energy costs, consumer prices have risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, pulling back from the recent peak of 2.3 percent in January. As such, overall pricing pressures remain modest and mostly under control for now, and the latest easing in pricing pressures should give the Federal Reserve some breathing room on monetary policy.
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