Aug. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. consumer prices rose by more than a half-percent for a second consecutive month in July, fueled mainly by higher gasoline prices, government figures showed Wednesday.
The Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index, which excludes the food and energy sectors, grew by 0.6%. The index rose by the same amount in June, which was the largest month-to-month increase since 1991.
Inflation within those core elements, however, remained muted at 1.6% compared to July 2019.
The uptick was about twice what economists had predicted and eased some fears of a deflationary cycle after prices declined earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The figures showed that gasoline prices rose by 5.6%. The cost of apparel and used vehicles also climbed sharply. Grocery costs declined 1.1% after significant increases earlier this year when many Americans were first under stay-home orders nationwide.
Analysts said the data confirmed that consumer spending has stabilized, continuing a trend first seen in June when states began to reopen their economies and lift restrictions that harmed business markets.