US consumer prices up tiny 0.1 percent in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer inflation slowed in December to a tiny 0.1 percent gain as the cost of energy products tumbled following a big jump in November.

The Labor Department said Friday that the December increase in consumer prices followed a much bigger 0.4 percent jump in November and was the smallest advance since a similar 0.1 percent rise in October.

Over the past 12 months, overall inflation is up 2.1 percent while core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 1.8 percent. The overall 2.1 percent price increase was identical to the inflation gain in 2016 with both years up from tiny increases of 0.8 percent in 2014 and 0.7 percent in 2015.

Low inflation has made the Federal Reserve cautious about raising interest rates too quickly.