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U.S. consumer inflation remains muted

U.S. consumer inflation remains muted

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (Xinhua): U.S. consumer prices rose slightly in July, indicating that muted inflation pressure might complicate Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rate. Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, edged up 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, compared to zero growth in the previous month, said the Labor Department on Friday. On a year-on-year basis, the index increased 1.7 percent, slightly higher than the 1.6 percent growth in June. Food index went up 0.2 percent, compared to zero growth in June. The energy index fell 0.1 percent in the month following a 1.6 percent decline in June. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the so-called core CPI went up 0.1 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, and was up 1.7 percent over the year, the same growth as in June. The muted inflation pressure might complicate the Fed’s interest rate hike decisions. Some Fed officials expected the inflation will rise in the future with the tightening labor market and supported the central bank to continue to raise interest rates gradually. However, some remained cautious about the rate hikes and said that the impact from the tightening labor market on inflation might be limited. Despite the weak inflation, the Fed is expected to start to wind down its 4.5-trillion-U.S. dollar balance sheet in September. Market investors expected the central bank to raise interest rate again in December.

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