Cheaper Gasoline Fuels First Drop in Consumer Prices Since November

Cheaper prices at the pumps helped fuel the first drop in consumer prices in six months in November, a key signal to the Federal Reserve that inflation is stable as it expands stimulus programs.
The consumer price index dropped 0.3 percent last month from October, the Labor Department said Friday, slightly surpassing analyst expectations.
A sharp decline in gasoline prices offset increases in other categories. November’s was also the largest drop since May and followed a 0.1 percent gain in October.
The overall decline was primarily from the 7.4 percent plunge in the government’s gasoline price index.
Consumer prices had not dropped since May. And after two flat months in June and July, prices began increasing as gas prices jumped through the summer and fall months.
For the 12 months ending in November, consumer prices have risen 1.8 percent.
The increase is below the Fed’s 2 percent annual inflation target.
The Fed said on Wednesday that it expects to keep interest rates near zero until unemployment falls to at least 6.5 percent, and as long as inflation does not break above 2.5 percent and inflation projections are contained within the same threshold.

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