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US consumer prices accelerate for the first time in 13 months

For the first time in more than 12 months, the pace of US consumer price hikes accelerated on an annual basis, a media report said.

The Consumer Price Index rose 3.2 per cent for the year through July, up from June’s 3 per cent annual increase, according to data released on Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN reported.

The annual headline rate’s increase, which was largely due to year-over-year comparisons to July 2022 when monthly inflation turned negative, came in below economists’ expectations for a 3.3 per cent annual gain, the report said.

Prices rose 0.2 per cent on a monthly basis, driven by shelter costs, which accounted for 90 per cent of the increase, the BLS report said.

Underlying inflation, however, continued to show cooling.

Core CPI, which excludes the more volatile food and energy prices, increased 0.2 per cent from June and was up 4.7 per cent from the year-ago period. July is the fourth consecutive month that annual core CPI has eased, and the 4.7 per cent rate landed 0.1 percentage points below consensus expectations.

In June, prices increased 0.2 per cent for the month and 4.8 per cent annually.

Persistently high inflation — specifically grocery, gas and rent prices — has weighed on consumers for more than two years.

Since March of last year, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates 11 times to the highest level seen in 22 years in hopes of reining in inflation by tempering demand, CNN reported.

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