The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that consumer prices rose 0.6 percent in January, its fastest month pace in more than four years. It was also the sixth straight monthly increase, with the larger figure in January due largely to higher energy costs, up 4.0 percent in this report. For its part, gasoline costs were up 7.6 percent in January, with a 20.3 percent gain over the past 12 months. At the same time, food prices edged up 0.1 percent in January, with a decline of 0.2 percent since January 2016. Overall, the consumer price index increased 2.5 percent year-over-year in January, up from 0.9 percent in July and the highest level since March 2012.
Core consumer prices were up 0.3 percent in January, its fastest rate in five months. There were higher prices for apparel, household furnishings, medical care new vehicles, transportation services and shelter, but used cars and trucks had slightly reduced prices in this release. Excluding food and energy costs, consumer prices have increased 2.3 percent over the past 12 months, up from 2.2 percent in the prior report. Even though core consumer price inflation has exceeded the Federal Reserve’s stated goal of 2 percent for 15 consecutive months, overall prices pressures remain modest and under control for now.