U.S. consumer prices barely rose in October as the boost to gasoline prices from hurricane-related disruptions to Gulf Coast oil refineries were unwound, but rising rents and healthcare costs pointed to a gradual buildup of underlying inflation.
The Labor Department said on Wednesday its Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 percent last month after jumping 0.5 percent in September. That lowered the year-on-year increase in the CPI to 2.0 percent from 2.2 percent in September.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the CPI nudging up 0.1 percent in October and rising 2.0 percent on a year-on-year basis.
Gasoline prices fell 2.4 percent after surging 13.1 percent in September, which was the largest gain since June 2009. September's jump in gasoline prices followed Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas in late August and disrupted production at oil refineries in the Gulf Coast region.
Food prices were unchanged after nudging up 0.1 percent in September. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in October amid a pickup in the
cost of rental accommodation, healthcare costs, tobacco and a range of other goods and services.