WASHINGTON – The United States’ consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.5 percent in September from a month earlier due in large part to higher fuel prices triggered by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the Labor Department said on Friday.
It marked the second consecutive big monthly jump in that indicator and the largest increase in eight months.
The CPI rose by 0.4 percent in August.
Fuel prices shot up by 6.1 percent last month due mainly to a 13.1 percent increase in gasoline prices, the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
But core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, inched up by just 0.1 percent.
Consumer prices rose 2.2 percent last month from September 2016, a bigger annual rise than in August (1.9 percent), while core consumer prices climbed 1.7 percent in the 12 months ending in September.
The 12-month rise in consumer prices had persistently come in below the US Federal Reserve’s 2 percent annual inflation rate target but has now edged above that threshold.
The US central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate twice this year and will need to take into account both the inflation trend and the unemployment rate (now at 4.2 percent; anything below 5 percent is considered full employment), among other factors, in making its next rate policy decision.
The Fed is expected to raise its federal-funds rate, currently at a target range of between 1 percent and 1.25 percent, once more before year’s end.