Higher gasoline prices push USA inflation rate up to 0.4%

Producer Prices Grew 0.4% in November

Producer Prices Grew 0.4% in November

The year-over-year rate for core prices dropped to 1.7%, following a rise to 1.8% in October. Housing prices rose 0.2 percent. In the 12 months through November, the PPI rose 3.1% - the biggest increase since January 2012.

Fed policymakers have been confessed to being baffled throughout much of 2017 by persistently weak inflation, especially in the face of falling unemployment, but even so are expected to raise rates at this week's meeting to keep ahead of expected price gains in 2018. Shelter prices grew 0.2% from a month earlier, compared with a 0.3% rise in the previous two months. The cost of doctor visits fell 0.8 per cent last month.

Apparel prices dropped 1.3 per cent, the largest drop since September 1998.

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Core goods climbed 0.3% in November, rising by the same margin for a third consecutive month. Doctors who do respond are more willing to report self-paid prices than private-insurance prices, meaning the data the department collects aren't necessarily representative of the actual prices. Used vehicle prices increased 1%, lifted by demand to replace hurricane-destroyed vehicles.

The moderation in underlying prices will likely attract the attention of Federal Reserve officials meeting on Wednesday for a second day.

Weak inflation readings through the first half of the year had prompted concerns among some Federal Reserve officials that pressures holding down inflation could become more persistent. Both gauges have followed the same pattern.

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The Labor Department said Wednesday that prices at the pump increased a sharp 7.3 percent after falling in October.

"The pickup over the year will be welcomed by the Fed as an indication that inflation is gradually moving up", said Sarah House, an economist at Wells Fargo Securities. Namely, I feel we are facing below-target inflation expectations, " Mr. Evans said.

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