U.S. consumer prices rose just 0.1% in June, as cheaper gas prices were offset by higher rents and auto costs.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index increased 1.6% in June from a year earlier. That is down from 1.8% in May and the second straight drop. Excluding the volatile food and energy prices, core inflation rose 0.3% in June, the biggest increase in 18 months. It rose 2.1% from a year ago.
Inflation has been muted throughout the 10-year expansion, now the longest on record, even as the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.7%, near the lowest in five decades. Federal Reserve policymakers have cited low inflation readings as a justification for potentially lowering short-term interest rates at its next meeting in late July.