WASHINGTON — Consumer prices fell short of economist expectations in October, expanding 0.2% due largely to higher gasoline prices, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, also fell short. They were unchanged a third straight month.

Economists expected October consumer prices would increase 0.3% and core prices would edge up 0.1%. Consumer prices rose 0.1% in September. Over the past year, core prices increased just 0.6%, the smallest annual increase in the history of the index, which dates back to 1957.

“Headline consumer inflation was quite subdued despite a jump in energy prices because of softness in prices nearly everywhere elsewhere,” said Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics.

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