WASHINGTON — Consumer prices, halfway through 1986, are down at an annual rate of 0.2%, their best performance in more than three decades, the government said today. The good news came despite a 0.5% increase in June.
Last month's increase, the steepest since November, followed a 0.2% May gain.
Yet, due largely to three months of falling prices earlier in the year, inflation at the retail level for all of 1986 is now expected to be 2% or less.
Gasoline, Food Prices Rose
Both gasoline and food prices rose last month, the Labor Department said.
Gasoline prices, on the heels of a 2.5% May gain, picked up even further, rising 3.1% in June. Analysts note, however, that by the end of the month, pump prices had once more turned downward.
Food prices were up a tiny 0.1% after a 0.4% increase in the preceding month.
The year-to-date reading was the best six-month showing since a 0.4% drop in 1955.
Despite the June gasoline price increase, overall energy costs this year have fallen at an annual rate of 40.2%.
Grocery store prices declined at an annual rate of 0.5% through June, while restaurant meals increased 4.1% for the same period.