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Consumer prices plunge 0.7% on cheaper gas costs
Consumer prices plunge 0.7% on cheaper gas costs

A plunge in gas prices last month lowered consumer prices by the most in six years. But excluding the volatile food and energy costs, prices rose. The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index fell 0.7% in January, the sharpest drop since December 2008. Tumbling prices at the pump drove nearly all of the decline. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.2%. The cost of clothes, hotels and restaurants all rose. Overall, consumer prices have slipped 0.1% over the last 12 months. It is the first yearly drop in five years. And over the last year, core prices have risen just 1.6%, below the 2% level the Federal Reserve considers optimal for a healthy...

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