News Summary: US consumer prices flat last month

News Summary: US consumer prices flat in December as cheaper gas offsets pricier food, rent

Associated Press

PRICES TAME: A measure of U.S. consumer prices was unchanged in December, the Labor Department said. Food prices rose 0.2 percent last month, while gas costs fell 2.3 percent. Core prices, which exclude volatile food and gas, ticked up 0.1 percent.

INFLATION SLOWS: Consumer prices rose only 1.7 percent in 2012, down from 3 percent in 2011. Core prices rose 1.9 percent in 2012, below 2011's increase of 2.2 percent.

AND MAY STAY LOW: Prices are likely to stay low in the early months of 2013, based on a measure of wholesale prices. The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, fell for the third straight month in December.

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