WASHINGTON – The United States’ consumer-price index (CPI) inched up 0.1 percent in July from the prior month and rose 1.7 percent compared to July 2016, the Labor Department said on Friday.
That latter result compares with an annual increase of 1.6 percent in June.
The US Federal Reserve considers an inflation rate of 2 percent healthy for the economy and consistent over the long term with its mandate for price stability and maximum employment.
Core inflation, which does not include volatile food and energy prices, also rose 0.1 percent from the prior month and 1.7 percent from July 2016.
The slight rise in the CPI was due in part to higher costs of housing, food and medical care, while energy prices slid by 0.1 percent in July, with gasoline costs unchanged and electricity prices rising 0.4 percent, the Labor Department said.
Food prices rose 0.2 percent from June and climbed 1.1 percent with respect to July of last year.
Housing expenses, which include rental costs and account for a third of the CPI, edged up 0.1 percent from the prior month and rose 3.2 percent year-on-year.
Inflation has cooled in recent months after surging at the start of 2017, a development that could make the Federal Reserve reluctant to raise interest rates further this year.
The central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate twice in 2017 – in March and June – and its latest forecast indicated one more hike in the federal-funds rate later this year.