WASHINGTON -- Cheaper gasoline led to the first drop in consumer prices in six months in November, signaling that inflation remains in check as the Federal Reserve continues its stimulus attempts.
The consumer price index fell 0.3% last month from October, the Labor Department said Friday, slightly beating analyst expectations.
The decline was driven by a 7.4% plunge in the government's gasoline price index.
Consumer prices hadn't fallen since May. And after two flat months in June and July, they had been rising as gas prices increased through the late summer and fall.
For the 12 months ending in November, consumer prices have risen 1.8%. The increase is below the Fed's 2% annual inflation target.
"Inflation is down due to gasoline, and is likely to fall again in next month’s report for the same reason," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York.