The consumer price index fell in August for the first time since the start of the year, mainly because of a sharp drop in gasoline prices. The CPI dipped a seasonally adjusted 0.1% last month, the first decline since January. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected no change. Energy prices declined 2%, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Food prices rose 0.2%, however, led by another big increase in the cost of eggs. Excluding food and energy, so-called core consumer prices rose 0.1% in August. Over the past year the main CPI has risen by an unadjusted 0.2%, the same as in the prior month. Core prices are up 1.8% in the same span, also unchanged. The low level of inflation is unlikely to give the Federal Reserve any urgency to raise interest rates this week. Real hourly wages, meanwhile, jumped 0.5% in August, reflecting lower inflation and a bump in hourly pay. Real wages have climbed a modest 2% in the past 12 months.
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