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Consumer Prices Edge Higher

Energy prices ease in October, but housing and food costs climb.

Updated from 8:57 a.m. EST

Energy prices eased in October after rising sharply in the previous three months, but on the whole consumer-level inflation ticked higher as housing and food prices advanced.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the consumer price index rose 0.2% last month. Energy costs, which had risen 12% in September, fell 0.2% in October, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

Within the energy component, a 5.2% gain for household fuels was more than offset by a 4.4% pullback in motor fuels. Taking out the cost of food and energy, the core CPI matched the headline number, rising 0.2% from September.

Economists had been predicting a 0.2% increase in the core rate. On average, they were expecting the overall October CPI to be unchanged, according to a



The index for housing rose 0.9% in October, following an increase of 0.4% the previous month. Food and beverage prices rose 0.3% last month.

The CPI is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services purchased by households. The data are based on prices for food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation, doctors' visits and other items people purchase in their day-to-day lives.

On Tuesday, the government said the seasonally adjusted producer price index grew 0.7% last month, following a 1.9% climb in September.

The core rate of producer-level inflation, which like the CPI excludes food and energy prices, dropped 0.3% in October after an increase of 0.3% in September.

Separately, the Census Bureau said September business inventories were up 0.5% from August.