September 16, 2009

Consumer prices climb modestly

Consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in August, compared with July, slightly faster than expected, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Wednesday.

Prices fell from 12 months ago, down 1.5 percent from August 2008, the department said. With prices buffeted primarily by oil prices, taking out energy and food price fluctuations puts inflation at a positive 1.4 percent on the year, the department said.

Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent rise in prices in August. Core prices -- prices excluding food and energy -- were expected to rise 0.1 percent.

Economists see 0.4 percent as a sensible middle ground, not close to high inflation, nor deflation, when prices fall and put a dangerous stall in consumer spending.