NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Lower energy prices helped keep prices paid by consumers in check in May, according to a government report released Tuesday.
The consumer price index, a broad measure of retail prices, showed no change compared with an April reading that showed overall prices down 0.3 percent in that month, according to the Labor Department report.
The so-called "core-CPI," which excludes often volatile food and energy prices, posted a 0.3 percent increase, a larger jump than forecast. Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com expected that CPI would fall 0.1 percent, while the core CPI would rise 0.1 percent.
Energy prices, which showed a sharp runup in the first quarter of this year as the nation prepared for war in Iraq, fell for the second straight month. Overall energy prices were off 3.1 percent, while petroleum-based fuel prices fell 6.7 percent. That offset a 0.4 percent increase in food prices.
The Federal Reserve watches price data as it weighs what to do to interest rates at its meeting next week. Last week a measure of wholesale prices known as the producer price index showed the second straight decline, raising fears of deflation in some quarters of the economy, although the core PPI reading rose 0.1 percent.
At least one of the policy-makers with a say in the matter is not concerned about prices.
"Deflation is not at the doorstep," Robert McTeer, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told CNN/Money at Money magazine's Money Summit Tuesday.