Roller-Coaster Prices

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Roller-Coaster Prices

NEW YORK -- U.S. consumers found themselves paying more for goods and services in August, as energy costs eased and inflation was low, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The consumer price index rose 0.2 percent for the month of August, according to Labor Department reports on Friday. This follows a 0.4 percent increase in July. Annually, consumer prices were 3.8 percent higher than a year prior, the Journal reported.

Core consumer price inflation rose 2.8 percent for the year, ending in August. "Core consumer price inflation in August reflected the continuing pass-through of prior months' surges in energy prices to non-energy prices. Those pressures are now reversing," Peter Morici, economist and professor at the University of Maryland told the Journal. For the month of August, gasoline prices increased 0.2 percent (seasonally adjusted).

The transportation index was 0.2 percent higher, due to falling gas prices and a decrease in new vehicle costs.

Gasoline prices continue to fall, Reuters reported last week, slipping to $63 per barrel and expanding the drop to 20 percent on Thursday.

U.S. crude oil ended down 75 cents on Thursday to $63.22 a barrel, after dropping to a new five month low of $63 in the day. The slip came after a 21 cent rise the day prior that ended the seven-session dip -- the longest drop in three years -- that has clipped prices by 12 percent, Reuters reported.

Prices fell earlier in the week due to eased tensions between a potential standoff that could disrupt oil shipments between the West and the number four exporter, Iran. "The possibility remains that the Iran issue could flare up again but I think the market has downgraded its premium pretty well overall," Tobin Goery, commodities strategist for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia told Reuters.

The market also eased when tanker loading resumed at Nigeria's Brass export terminal after a strike ended on Thursday due to intervening oil unions, Reuters reported.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation reviewed a request by BP to restart the production at the eastern end of the Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska.