US consumer prices plunge record 1.0 pct in October

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2008 (AFP) – US consumer prices plunged a record 1.0 percent in October amid an accelerating global financial crisis, government data showed Wednesday. The one-month decline in the Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI) was the steepest since the department began publishing seasonally adjusted changes in February 1947 and exceeded analysts’ consensus forecast of a 0.8 percent fall.

The prior record was a 0.9 percent decline in July 1949.

The record CPI plunge followed little change in prices in September and August and was led by plummeting oil prices from their July record highs.

Core CPI, excluding food and energy prices, slipped 0.1 percent.

Over the past 12 months, headline inflation rose to 3.7 percent, slowing from a 4.9 percent annual rate in September, while core CPI was 2.2 percent higher than in October 2007.

Energy prices fell 8.6 percent in October, the steepest monthly decline since the figure was established in 1957, after a decline of 1.9 percent in September.

On a 12-month basis, energy prices were up 11.5 percent in October, compared with 23.1 percent in the prior month.

Gasoline prices also f