WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department reports Thursday on wholesale inflation in October. Report to be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
ANOTHER DECLINE LIKELY: Economists forecast that wholesale prices slipped 0.2 percent in October, according to a survey from FactSet. That would follow a 0.1 percent decline in September and would likely reflect lower gas prices.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core wholesale prices are expected to have risen 0.1 percent. That would match the September gain.
NO INFLATION PRESSURE: Wholesale prices reflect the cost of goods before they reach the consumer. Both consumer and wholesale inflation have been running extremely low in the past year. High unemployment and weak wage increases have made it difficult for businesses to raise prices.
Mild inflation has allowed the Federal Reserve more latitude to use its policies to try and stimulate growth. And some Fed officials have raised concerns that inflation is running too low.
Wholesale prices rose just 0.3 percent in the 12 months ending in September, the weakest 12-month gain since October 2009. A steady decline in energy costs offset more expensive food. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices rose 1.2 percent in the 12 months ending in September.
Consumer prices slipped 0.1 percent percent in October, the government said Wednesday, mostly because gasoline prices fell 2.9 percent from September. Consumer prices rose just 1 percent over the previous year.
Excluding volatile energy and food costs, core consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in October from September and have risen just 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.
U.S. gasoline prices began falling in the spring and reached two-year lows earlier this month. The average price of a gallon of gas was $3.21 on Wednesday, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
The Fed has said it will keep the short-term interest rate it controls at nearly zero at least until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5 percent and as long as inflation isn't expected to rise above 2.5 percent at an annual rate in the near future.
Low inflation has also allowed the Fed to continuing buying bonds to try and lower long-term interest rates.
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