The U.S. January consumer price index data mainly reflected rebounds in some key components, but still show overall prices are moderating — as would be expected in a recession.

January CPI rose 0.3% overall and increased 0.2% at the core, for a flat reading overall over the year — its best showing since August 1955 — and a 1.7% increase at core over the year.

The core rate was boosted by apparel at a 0.3% rise after a 0.6% decline in December, new vehicles up 0.3% after two months of decline, medical at a 0.4% increase, and tobacco at an 0.8% jump. The latter two categories are chronic price-gainers. Commodities, drugs, and services are all rising in the medical category.

Food was up 0.1%, held down by a decline in meats, dairy, and fruits. Energy was up 1.7% after months of decline, mainly reflecting a 6% increase for gas prices.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics economist opined that CPI’s overall over-the-year rate could go negative next month if recent trends continue. He also said gasoline prices are likely to continue higher.

— Market News International

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