US consumer prices at record high

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People shop at the Citadel Outlets ahead of the Christmas holidays on Thursday. Agence France-Presse

US consumer prices continued to surge in November, climbing 6.8 per cent compared to the same month in 2020, the biggest jump since June 1982, the government said Friday.

The leap in the consumer price index (CPI) was caused by increases in a wide range of items, including a 6.1 per cent jump in gasoline prices, while rents, used car and food costs also increased, according to the labour Department.

However, there were signs of a crest in the wave of inflation that has pushed prices higher as the US economy recovered this year from the Covid-19 downturn.

Compared to October, CPI rose 0.8 per cent, seasonally adjusted, slightly slower than the prior month’s rate but above analysts’ forecasts.

Many categories saw prices either flatline or decline slightly last month.

The increase in gas prices was the same as in October, while food prices rose 0.7 per cent, less than the month prior, according to the data.

Shelter prices rose by the same level as in October at 0.5 per cent, while used cars, which have grown costly this year in part due to a global semiconductor shortage that has hampered automobile production, climbed 2.5 per cent, also the same as the prior month.

Meanwhile, oil prices were on track for their biggest weekly gain since late August, with market sentiment buoyed by easing concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant’s impact on global economic growth and fuel demand.

The Brent and WTI benchmarks were both on course for gains of about 8% this week, their first weekly gain in seven, even after a brief bout of profit-taking.

Brent crude futures were up 99 cents, or 1.3%, at $75.41 a barrel by 1351 GMT after falling 1.9% on Thursday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.08, or 1.5%, to $72.02 after sliding 2% in a volatile session the previous day.

 

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