Consumer prices increased slightly more than expected in September at a time when inflation fears are growing, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.
The consumer price index for all items rose 0.4% for the month, compared to the 0.3% Dow Jones estimate. On a year-over-year basis, prices increased 5.4% vs. the estimate for 5.3% and the highest since January 1991.
However, excluding volatile food and energy prices, the CPI increased 0.2% on the month and 4% year over year, against respective estimates for 0.3% and 4%.
Gasoline prices rose another 1.2% for the month, bringing the annual increase to 42.1%. Fuel oil shot up 3.9%, for a 42.6% year over year surge.
The news comes as Federal Reserve policymakers grapple with the prospect that inflation could be more persistent than thought. Central bankers have called the current run "transitory," and attribute it largely to supply chain and demand issues that they expect to subside in the months ahead.
However, that view has been receiving substantial pushback lately.
On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund warned that the Fed and its global peers should be preparing contingency plans should inflation prove persistent. That would mean raising interest rates sooner than expected to control the price gains.
Later in the day, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC that he thinks the Fed should be more aggressive in withdrawing its economic support should inflation prove a problem and require rate hikes. Also on Tuesday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said the factors that have pushed inflation higher "will not be brief."
However, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on Monday took the transitory side of the argument, saying that the current conditions will clear up and inflation won't be a factor in 2022.
This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.
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