WASHINGTON: Plunging gasoline prices pulled US consumer prices down sharply in January, giving the consumer price index its first 12-month fall since 2009, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
The official CPI fell 0.7 percent in January from December, on the back of an 18.7 percent drop in gas prices and 9.7 percent fall for energy overall.
It was the third straight month of falling prices, with the global drop in crude prices the main reason, though food prices have also been soft.
With gas stripped out, prices rose a bare 0.1 percent in January. Food prices were flat, though the sub-index for food at home fell, showing downward pressure on grocery prices.
January’s sharp fall pulled the 12 month gauge for consumer inflation down by 0.1 percent, the first year-on-year decline since October 2009.