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US consumer inflation eases to 3.0% in June

Washington — U.S. inflation edged down in June as analysts expected, government data showed Thursday, a reassuring development for President Joe Biden as he fights to win confidence on his economic record in his reelection bid. 

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 3.0 percent last month from a year ago, said the Labor Department, as a fall in gas prices more than offset housing costs.

A measure that strips out volatile food and energy prices saw the smallest annual rise since 2021.

The world’s biggest economy has been on a bumpy path to reining in inflation, which soared to a blistering 9.1 percent in mid-2022.

This prompted the central bank to rapidly hike interest rates in hopes of easing demand and bringing down price increases.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers this week that inflation has since shown “modest” progress.

In June, overall CPI declined 0.1 percent on-month for the first time since 2020, the latest Labor Department report showed.

The “core” CPI index excluding the volatile food and energy segments came in at 3.3 percent on-year, the smallest jump since April 2021.

The latest CPI report adds to a series of encouraging data that could give officials confidence that inflation is coming down to their two-percent target.

This, in turn, would allow them to start cutting decades-high interest rates. 

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