17 January 2001, 16:37  US CPI-OVERVIEW

--US consumer prices +0.2% in December; core rate +0.1%
--Ex-energy, US December consumer prices +0.1%; energy +0.2%
--BLS: US Dec core CPI decelerates as tobacco drops, shelter slows
--US Dec CPI gasoline prices -1.7%; fuel oil +2.5%; nat. gas +4.4%
--US December food prices +0.5%; new vehicles +0.4%; shelter +0.1%
--US December medical care prices +0.3%; prescription drugs +0.5%
--US December consumer tobacco prices -3.5%; apparel -0.4%
--US 2000 CPI +3.4% vs 1999 +2.7%; core 2000 CPI +2.6% vs 1999 +1.9%
--US real average weekly earnings in December -0.4%
By Andrew Williams, BridgeNews
Washington--Jan. 17--U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2% in December, meeting expectations as increases in natural gas, home heating oil, food and new vehicles offset declines elsewhere, the Labor Department said Wednesday.
Excluding food and energy costs, consumer prices rose just 0.1%, a notch below expectations, on lower tobacco prices and a slowdown in housing inflation.
* * * "A sharp downturn in the tobacco index and a smaller increase in shelter costs were responsible for the smaller advance in December than in November," when the core rate rose 0.3%, Labor said.
Tobacco costs fell 3.5% in December, having risen 3.6% the previous month.
Meanwhile, shelter costs, including hotel and rental home costs, rose 0.1% in December and having risen 0.3% in November.

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