[WASHINGTON] US consumer prices were unchanged in October from September, holding the annual inflation rate at a modest 1.7 per cent, the Labour Department reported on Thursday.
The ongoing fall in energy prices, especially gasoline and fuel oil, held the headline number down against gains in the costs of services. Energy costs dropped 1.9 per cent in the month alone.
Food prices meanwhile were up just 0.1 per cent.
When the two volatile components of the consumer price index, food and energy, are stripped out, core prices were up 0.2 per cent in the month, and 1.8 per cent year-on-year.
The Federal Reserve has sought to boost inflation up to around 2.0 per cent as a sign of firm economic growth. But the minutes from their end-October policy meeting released Wednesday showed them more concerned about the prospect of weakening inflation, in part due to sagging growth in other parts of the world.