Consumer prices driven higher by gasoline

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Consumer prices rose in 2009 as gasoline prices were more than 50% higher from 2008's depressed levels, the government said Friday.

The Consumer Price Index, the government's key inflation reading, rose 2.7% during the past 12 months. That compares with a 0.1% rise for 2008.

The increase was due to higher gas prices, which rose 53.5% over the last year after declining 43.1% in 2008.

Food prices fell 0.5% last year after climbing 5.9% in 2008. It was the first December-to-December decline since 1961.

The so-called core CPI, which is more closely watched by economists because it excludes volatile food and energy prices, was up 1.8% over the past year, the same increase as in 2008.

December numbers. Overall prices rose 0.1% last month, driven by a sharp rise in prices for used cars and trucks. But the gain was smaller than the 0.2% rise Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast.

The core CPI also increased 0.1% in the month, which matched economists' expectations. Core prices were held in check as housing costs, which make up 40% of the index, were unchanged from November.

"Core inflation was held down by housing prices," said Mark Vitner, an economists at Wells Fargo Securities. "That's likely to continue because housing is in over supply."

However, prices outside of housing, energy and food are now going up at the fastest rate since 1982, according to Vitner.

Gas prices were up 0.2% last month after increasing 6.4% in November. Food prices also rose 0.2% in December after rising 0.1% in each of the previous two months.

"The overall and core CPI were both well behaved in December," Vitner said. But despite the modest monthly increases, there are some "trouble spots beneath the surface," he warned.

"After falling through much of 2009, food prices have begun to trend higher," Vitner said. "Energy prices are also up on year-to-year basis and will no longer constrain inflation." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,614.81 215.14 1.31%
Nasdaq 4,419.48 103.41 2.40%
S&P 500 1,941.28 37.27 1.96%
Treasuries 2.21 0.03 1.24%
Data as of 1:18am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 102.47 2.71 2.72%
Bank of America Corp... 16.60 0.34 2.09%
The Coca-Cola Co 40.68 -2.61 -6.03%
Regions Financial Co... 9.26 0.10 1.09%
Yahoo! Inc 40.18 0.90 2.29%
Data as of Oct 21

Sections

Yahoo was in the spotlight Tuesday as it released its third-quarter results, its first earnings release since the Alibaba IPO. More

Startups focusing on "ag tech," or agricultural technology, are gaining the attention of farmers and investors More

Foreign workers, lured by false promises of good jobs and benefits in America, soon find themselves enslaved in plain sight as victims of labor trafficking, a report from the Urban Institute finds. Here's how it can happen. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.