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US inflation increases pace in October
[WASHINGTON] US inflation picked up in September with the strongest monthly rise in six months, mainly reflecting higher prices for gasoline and housing, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent for the month on a seasonally adjusted basis, matching analyst expectations.
Over the prior 12 months, the index was up 1.6 percent, the biggest such gain since October 2014.
Rising fuel prices drove over half of the overall CPI gain, up 7 percent for the month, after a 6 percent gain in September. Housing prices also rose 0.4 percent for October.
Excluding food and fuel, the core consumer price index rose only 0.1 percent for the second month in a row. For the 12-month period ended October, that figure rose 2.1 percent.
US monetary policymakers have so far held off raising interest rates in 2016, waiting for signs inflation and tightening in the labor markets.
US Fed chief Janet Yellen testified in Congress on Thursday that a rate increase could occur "relatively soon." The Federal Reserve is due to consider interest rate policy next month.
Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said the 12-month gain for the overall index was on track to overtake core CPI by early 2017 - the first time it will have done so in five years.
"This will drive up consumers' inflation expectations, even before the fiscal stimulus proposed by the new administration kicks in," he wrote in a note to clients.
"We think inflation risks for the foreseeable future are to the upside."