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Consumer prices increase 0.2 per cent in Oct.; but year of low gas costs keep inflation at bay

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices rose modestly in October, as low gasoline costs and a strong dollar have suppressed inflation.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose 0.2 per cent last month after falling in September and August. Gas costs increased 0.4 per cent in October but have plunged 27.8 per cent over the past 12 months.

Overall consumer prices have risen a slim 0.2 per cent from a year ago. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, advanced 0.2 per cent from September and 1.9 per cent from a year ago.

The Federal Reserve targets annual inflation at 2 per cent. The overall number is well short of that goal, but core inflation is close. Fed officials meet next month to decide whether to raise interest rates held at near-zero since December 2008.

Josh Boak, The Associated Press

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