The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in October, extending the 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent gains seen in August and September, respectively. It was also the fastest pace of monthly price growth since April. The jump in consumer inflation in October stemmed largely from higher energy prices, up 3.5 percent, with gasoline costs up 7.0 percent. Still, increases in energy prices in September and October followed declined in both July and August, and energy costs were up just 0.1 percent year-over-year. In addition, food prices were unchanged for the fourth straight month. Over the past 12 months, food prices have edged lower, down 0.4 percent since October 2015. Overall, the consumer price index increased 1.6 percent year-over-year in October, a two-year high and up from 0.9 percent in July.
Core consumer prices also moved higher, up 0.1 percent, in October. There were higher prices for apparel, medical care commodities, new vehicles and shelter, but lower costs for transportation services and used vehicles. Excluding food and energy costs, consumer prices have risen 2.2 percent since October 2015, essentially the same year-over-year rate seen for all of 2016 so far. Yet, even though core consumer price inflation has exceeded the Federal Reserve’s stated goal of 2 percent for 12 consecutive months, overall prices pressures remain modest and under control for now.