The cost of living in the U.S. rose less than forecast in August, a sign it will take time for inflation to reach the Federal Reserve’s goal.
The consumer-price index increased 0.1 percent, the least in three months, after a 0.2 percent gain in July, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.2 percent gain in August. The core measure, which excludes food and fuel, also rose 0.1 percent last month.
The figures come as Fed policy makers meet today and tomorrow to debate whether economic growth is strong enough to begin slowing the pace of bond purchases. Central bankers have said they are also watching prices to ensure the U.S. doesn’t slip into a long period of diminishing increases, or disinflation, that damages the expansion.
“There’s still quite a bit of slack in the labor market, wage gains are positive but have been modest,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York who correctly forecast the gain in the CPI. “The Fed is committed to defending their 2 percent inflation goal from both sides, and currently inflation is running below that goal.”
Stock-index futures were little changed after the figures as the Fed prepared for its two-day meeting. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December rose 0.1 percent to 1,692 at 8:55 a.m. in New York.
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