WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - A highly anticipated report released by the Labor Department on Tuesday showed consumer prices in the U.S. increased by slightly more than expected in the month of January.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.3 percent in January after inching up by 0.2 percent in December. Economists had expected consumer prices to edge up by 0.2 percent.
While the report also showed the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 3.1 percent in January from 3.4 percent in December, economists had expected the pace of growth to slow to 2.9 percent.
The slightly bigger than expected monthly increase in consumer prices was partly due to a continued advance by shelter costs, which climbed by 0.6 percent in January after rising by 0.4 percent in December.
Food prices also rose by 0.4 percent during the month amid higher prices for both food at home and food away from home, while energy prices slid by 0.9 percent amid a steep drop in gasoline prices.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices climbed by 0.4 percent in January after rising by 0.3 percent in December. Core prices were expected to increase by 0.3 percent.
The annual rate of core consumer price in January came in unchanged from the previous month at 3.9 percent. The pace of core price growth was expected to decelerate to 3.7 percent.
The monthly increase in core prices reflected the continued advance by shelter costs as well as higher prices for motor vehicle insurance and medical care.
Meanwhile, prices for used cars and trucks and apparel were among those that decreased over the month, the Labor Department said.
The Labor Department is scheduled to release a separate report on producer price inflation in the month of January on Friday.
Producer prices are expected to inch up by 0.1 percent in January after edging down by 0.1 percent in December, while the annual rate of producer growth is expected to slow to 0.6 percent from 1.0 percent.
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