US Consumer Prices Rise Slightly Less Than Expected In September

US Consumer Prices Rise Slightly Less Than Expected In September”

Gold prices were little changed amid a steady dollar on Friday, halting a five-day rally as investors wait for key US inflation data for clues on the outlook for potential hikes in USA interest rates.

According to the Labor Department, the Consumer Price Index jumped 0.5 percent last month after advancing 0.4 percent in August.

Oil prices fell after the U.S. Energy Department reported a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. inventories and a falloff in weekly production.

U.S. core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, a separate inflation gauge compiled by Commerce Department, increased 1.4 per cent in August from a year ago.

Emerging market stocks were buoyant too as another 0.2 percent rise set their latest 6-year peak. At their September meeting, officials penciled in a rate increase later this year, but some policy makers have expressed concerns about persistently soft inflation.

Gold is sensitive to rising rates because they push bond yields higher, thus reducing the attractiveness of non-yielding bullion, and such yields tend to boost the dollar, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies. Prices earlier hit $1,297.40, the highest since September 26.

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, who departs the central bank this month, said Friday on CNBC that given uncertainty over inflation, "we have to be more careful than full speed ahead" on tightening policy. That inflation gauge has undershot the target for all but two months since early 2012.

"Prior to the data the thinking was the Fed would look through the hurricane impact and find some move in inflation", said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Birmingham, Ala.

Silver was up 0.9% at $17.32 ounce, hitting its three-week high.

Meanwhile, the monthly rise in vehicle sales was 3.6% in September, with unit sales reaching a 12-year high, and sales of building materials and garden equipment were up 2.1% on the month. Traders were looking for a 0.6 percent increase. The groups "Recreation and culture" and "Restaurants and hotels" had the biggest downward impact on the total HICP that measures the change in prices of goods and services, consumed by all households (including foreign households) on the economic territory of the country.

In commodities, oil prices fell as USA fuel inventories rose despite efforts by OPEC to cut production.

Month-on-month, the HICP remained unchanged in September.

Information for this article was contributed by Martin Crutsinger of The Associated Press and by Patricia Laya, Shobhana Chandra and Agnel Philip of Bloomberg News.

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