US inflation was flat in December

The US consumer price index was flat in December, with increases in food and shelter prices offsetting a decline in gasoline prices, government data released Wednesday showed.

The gasoline index, which declined by a steep 7.4 percent in November, fell by 2.3 percent in December, the Labor Department said.

Overall energy prices fell by 1.2 percent, despite rises in electricity and natural gas prices.

Food prices meanwhile rose by 0.2 percent in December from November, the data showed.

Excluding food and energy, core CPI rose 0.1 percent in December, the same month-on-month increase as in November.

The cost of shelter rose 0.1 percent in December from the November level.

The data showed once again that inflation remains a relatively contained issue given the weakness in the overall economy.

Year-over-year, CPI rose 1.7 percent in December, down from the 1.8 percent rise the prior month.

Core CPI on a year-over-year basis held steady at 1.9 percent.

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