The numbers: Prices of consumer goods and services, the cost of living, rose in December at the fastest pace since last summer, as Americans paid more to fill their gas tanks. The consumer price index advanced 0.4% last month, the government said Wednesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch’s sister publications, had forecast a 0.4% rise.
Consumer inflation rises 0.4% in December due to the increase in gas prices, according to the CPI
About 60% of last month’s increase was linked to higher gasoline prices. Excluding gas and food, the inflation rate rose 0.1% lower, based on a less volatile “core” price measure. Read: America lost 140,000 jobs in December. How bad was it? However, the rate of inflation over the last year was quite low, 1.4%. The annual rate increased from 1.2% in the previous month. Before the pandemic started last spring, consumer inflation was at a much higher rate of 2.3%. Plus: restaurants cut another 372,000 jobs in December Read: The bad news keeps coming for the economy, but it may not be as bad as it sounds. The Big Picture: Investors are talking about inflation again, but it is likely to stay below 2% early spring and will likely pose no threat to the economy this year. See: MarketWatch Coronavirus Recovery Tracker Market Reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, + 0.19% and S&P 500 SPX, + 0.04% were set to open lower in Wednesday trading.