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Consumer Prices Up Slim 0.3% in May, Smallest Rise This Year

June 23, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A slowdown in energy prices partially offset sharply higher food costs to produce a 0.3% increase in consumer prices in May, the smallest increase this year, the government reported today.

The increase in the Labor Department's consumer price index, equivalent to an annual rate of inflation of 4%, followed increases of 0.4% in each of the preceding three months.

So far this year, inflation has been running at an annual rate of 5.6%.

Food prices led the May price increases, up 0.6% after a 0.3% rise in April. Grocery store prices registered their biggest increase since last August, 0.9%, mainly due to a 3.1% increase in the price of beef, which offset a 0.3% decline in poultry prices.

Gasoline prices, still rebounding from last year's fall in world energy prices, were 0.4% higher at the pump in May, following a 0.7% rise in April. The gasoline price increase was the smallest so far this year.

Although pump prices have risen 14.9% during the first five months of 1987, they are still 30.1% lower than their March, 1981, peak.

While the inflation posted so far this year is a far cry from the double-digit price increases of the late 1970s, it easily is dwarfing last year's near-record 1.1% performance.

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