WASHINGTON: U.S. consumer prices were unexpectedly unchanged in October as moderate gains in the cost of food were offset by cheaper gasoline amid slack in the economy, which could allow the Federal Reserve to keep its ultra easy monetary policy for a long time to aid the recovery from the COVID-29 recession.
The Labor Department said on Thursday said the unchanged reading in its consumer price index last month followed a 0.2per cent increase in September. In the 12 months through October, the CPI climbed 1.2per cent after increasing 1.4per cent in September.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the CPI nudging up 0.1per cent in October and advancing 1.3per cent year-on-year.
Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI was also flat in October after rising 0.2per cent in the prior month. The so-called core CPI increased 1.6per cent year-on-year after gaining 1.7per cent in September.
The Fed's preferred inflation measure, the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 1.5per cent in the 12 months through September. The central bank has a 2per cent target, a flexible average. October's core PCE price index data is scheduled to be released at the end of this month.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)