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November US consumer prices up 0.3% on rising energy costs

WASHINGTON, DC – Higher energy prices lifted U.S. overall consumer prices in November.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its consumer price index rose 0.3% last month after rising 0.4% in October. Energy prices, led by a 1.1% uptick in gasoline, rose 0.8% in November on top of a 2.7% jump in October.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation rose 0.2% in November, matching October's increase. Despite surging in October and November, gasoline prices are down 1.2% over the past year.

Overall consumer prices were up 2.1% and core prices were up 2.3% from November 2018.

That means inflation is in line with the Federal Reserve's target of 2% a year. The Fed has cut the short-term interest rate it controls three times this year, partly to protect a record-breaking U.S. economic expansion from the effects of President Donald Trump's trade war with China.

Over the past year, the price of medical care is up 5.1% and housings costs are up 3.3%. Clothing prices are down 1.6%, and the cost of used and new cars and trucks are also down.