WASHINGTON — May consumer price index data was a little better than expected, as overall CPI printed 0.1% higher and core rose 0.1%  — 0.1446% unrounded — reflecting offsetting crosscurrents in prices.

Overall CPI was down 1.3% over the year in its biggest drop since April 1950, but core printed up 1.8% over the year, and the latter is probably a better reflection of the pace of underlying inflation.

Core was held down by a 0.2% drop in apparel — women’s and infants’ clothing prices fell after an April surge — a 1.5% decline in airfares, and a 0.3% slide in tobacco after a 9.3% jump in April. But it was boosted by a 0.5% rise in new vehicles, though the gain was mainly in the seasonal adjustment.

Energy printed up 0.2% as gasoline jumped 3.1%. Fuel oil, natural gas, and electricity dropped.

— Market News International

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