Year-on-year, energy prices increased at a slower 6.9 percent (9.4 percent in November), namely gasoline (10.7 percent from 16.5 percent) and fuel oil (15.2 percent from 18.6 percent). Smaller increases were also recorded for transportation services (3.7 percent from 3.8 percent). Inflation was steady for shelter (3.2 percent) and medical care services (1.6 percent) and cost continued to decline for apparel (-1.6 percent, the same as in November), new vehicles (-0.5 percent from -1.1 percent) and used cars and trucks (-1 percent from -2.1 percent). On the other hand, prices rose faster for electricity (2.6 percent from 2.5 percent); utility piped gas service (4.7 percent from 3.6 percent); food (1.4 percent from 1.3 percent in October) and medical care commodities (2.3 percent from 1.8 percent).
Excluding food and energy, the inflation edged up to 1.8 percent from 1.7 percent.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent, slowing from a 0.4 percent gain in November and below market expectations of 0.2 percent. An increase of 0.4 percent in the shelter index accounted for almost 80 percent of the monthly rise. The food index rose in December, with the indexes for food at home and food away from home both increasing. The energy index, which rose sharply in November, declined in December as the gasoline index fell. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent in December, its largest gain since January 2017. Along with the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, used cars and trucks, new vehicles, and motor vehicle insurance were among those that increased in December. The indexes for apparel, airline fares, and tobacco all declined over the month.