Sign of the times: Markdowns at a discount clothing store in New York City last month. Such stiff competition for consumers' dollars is helping to keep inflation in check.
A sharp drop in the cost of a gallon of gasoline helped pull consumer prices down 0.3 percent in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
According to BLS, gas prices plunged 7.4 percent last month.
Excluding the food and energy sectors, the so-called core rate of inflation rose just 0.1 percent.
Reuters notes that the overall decline points to "muted inflation pressures that should allow the Federal Reserve to stay on its ultra-easy monetary policy path as it nurses the economy back to health."
The drop followed a scant 0.1 percent increase in October. The inflation rate, which spiked in August and September when gas prices rose sharply, now appears to be back in check. Stiff competition for consumers' dollars — especially the price cuts many retailers are advertising — is also helping to hold inflation down.
For the year ended Nov. 30, the consumer price index is up 1.8 percent.
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