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Higher gas costs drive U.S. consumer prices up 0.3 percent in December, most in 6 months

By Christopher S. Rugaber
Associated Press

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WASHINGTON: U.S. consumer prices rose last month by the most since June, driven up by higher gas prices, but excluding energy, inflation was tame.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in December, after a flat reading the previous month.

Prices increased 1.5 percent in 2013, down from 1.7 percent in 2012. That’s also below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent.

Gas prices jumped 3.1 percent in December, the biggest gain since June. Food prices ticked up 0.1 percent.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices ticked up just 0.1 percent in December. Clothing costs jumped after three months of declines and rents also rose. Core prices rose 1.7 percent in 2013, down from a 1.9 percent increase in 2012.


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