US consumer price increases slow

U.S. consumer prices barely rose in May and the annual increase in inflation was the smallest in more than two years, though underlying price pressures remained strong.

The smaller-than-expected rise in the Consumer Price Index, reported by the Labor Department on June 13, reflected decreases in the costs of energy products and services, including gasoline and electricity. But rents remained sticky and prices of used cars and trucks rose further.

The CPI increased 0.1 percent last month after gaining 0.4 percent in April. Gasoline prices dropped 5.6 percent, while electricity declined for a third straight month. Utility gas also cost less.

But food prices rose 0.2 percent after being unchanged for two consecutive months as fruits and vegetables, nonalcoholic beverages and other food products became more expensive. Meat and fish, however, were cheaper, while egg prices fell 13.8 percent, the most since January 1951. It cost more to dine out.

In the 12 months through May, the CPI climbed 4.0 percent. That was the smallest year-on-year increase since March 2021 and followed a 4.9 percent rise in April.

The annual CPI peaked at 9.1 percent in June 2022, which was the biggest increase since November 1981, and is subsiding as last year's large rises drop out of the calculation.

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