WASHINGTON (7/17/13)--A sharp increase in gasoline prices has led to U.S. consumer prices in June recording their steepest rise in five months.
That increase is a potential sign that inflation is stabilizing while the Federal Reserve is considering scaling down quantitative-easing policies related to buying bond assets (The Wall Street Journal July 16).
The seasonally adjusted 6.3% rise in June gasoline prices helped spark a 0.5% seasonally adjusted gain in the consumer price index, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
Prices have mostly leveled off since last fall, after building early in the economic recovery, the Journal said.
Moderating inflation is a manifestation of modest U.S. consumer demand for goods and services and a letup of energy prices, said the Journal.
The Fed is closely watching inflation gauges as it contemplates scaling back its bond-buying program. Weak inflationary pressures could prompt some officials to ask for a delay in the cutting back of bond buying until December or later, the Journal said. The Fed also keeps an eye on the unemployment rate as the central bank considers its monetary policy.
Consumer prices are up 1.8% from a year earlier--nearly matching the Fed's 2% target, the Journal added.