The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, released Wednesday morning, showed that inflation remained in check last month.
In July, the CPI was unchanged from June. That marked the second consecutive month that consumer prices have remained flat, Reuters noted.
It also surprised economists who had forecast a 0.2% increase in the CPI for July.
Extending CPI data out a year, in the twelve months prior to July, the CPI increased 1.4%, but that was less than the 1.7% gain during the year prior to June, suggesting that the inflation is slowing. It was the smallest year-over-year increase since November 2010.
Food prices, pressured by the drought in the Midwest, rose 0.1% last month. Energy prices, however, declined by 0.3%. The price of new cars and trucks fell 0.1%, while used automobile prices slid 0.5%. Clothing prices increased 0.2%, while medical care costs rose 0.3%, but that was less than half the 0.7% gain seen in June.
Removing fuel and food, the “core CPI” inched up just 0.1%. In four consecutive months prior to July, the core CPI had increased 0.2%.
Economists had expected core CPI to rise 0.2% again last month.
Yesterday, the government released data showing that producer prices increased 0.3% last month, outpacing the 0.2% rise that economists had forecast.