Little sign of inflation as prices barely rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer prices increased slightly last month as food and energy costs ticked up, but there was little sign of widespread inflation.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in November, less than the previous month’s rise of 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

In the past year, prices have moved up only 1.1 percent.

The report shows that the sluggish economy is keeping prices in check. Outside of the food and energy costs, core consumer prices rose 0.1 percent, the first increase in four months.

In the past year, the core index moved up 0.8 percent, higher than October’s 0.6 percent annual increase, which was the lowest since the index began in 1957.

Prices have stabilized since the summer, when the CPI dropped for three straight months. That raised fears of deflation, a prolonged and debilitating drop in prices, wages and the value of stocks, homes and other assets. But since then, the index has increased for five straight months.

Food prices rose 0.2 percent last month, due to higher costs for meats, eggs and fish.

Gas prices rose 0.7 percent, driving energy costs up 0.2 percent, the fifth straight index. Still, it was the smallest increase in five months.

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