The Labor Department reported that inflation was tame in January as consumer prices rose just 0.1 percent, up 1.6 percent from a year ago, as only modest overall energy price increases, due in part to bad winter weather, have been seen so far.
Electricity prices saw their biggest increase since March 2010 and both natural gas and fuel oil were more expensive, but these gains were partially offset by falling gasoline prices that have recently rebounded (the Energy Department said yesterday that gasoline prices are up 0.2 percent from a month ago). Overall, the energy index rose 0.6 percent last month and will likely rise again this month.
Shelter costs rose 0.3 percent in January and other services such as transportation and medical care also increased while the price of commodities fell. Apparel prices dropped 0.3 percent while new and used auto prices fell 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.