(Reuters) - Consumer prices fell in November for the first time in six months, pointing to muted inflation pressures that should allow the Federal Reserve to stay on its ultra-easy monetary policy path as it nurses the economy back to health.
The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index dropped 0.3 percent last month as a sharp decline in gasoline prices offset increases in other areas. It was also the largest drop since May and followed a 0.1 percent gain in October.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer prices to fall 0.2 percent.
The so-called core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, edged up 0.1 percent after rising 0.2 percent in October. Although food prices rose 0.2 percent in a lagged response to the summer drought, price pressures remain tame.