US deflation puts rate rise in doubt

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that the country's economy has returned to deflation for the first time since 2009, with headline inflation dropping by 0.1% in the year to January, a sharp deceleration from November's 0.8% annual rise. On a monthly basis, prices fell 0.7% in January, the largest decline since December 2008, after slipping 0.3% in December. However, core CPI, excluding volatile food and energy costs, increased 0.2% on the month and 1.6% on the year. Rent rose by 0.2% in the month, clothing by 0.3% and personal care items were up by 0.6%, its largest increase since the index started in 1999. There were small declines in household furnishings, cars, alcohol, airfares and tobacco.The bureau's fuel price index fell by 18.7% in January, the seventh consecutive decline and the largest monthly drop since November 2008. Government economists estimate the fall in petrol prices will save the average household $750 in 2015 compared with the previous year.

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