Inflation: Consumer prices rise 3.1% in January, defying forecasts for a faster slowdown

US consumer prices rose more than expected in January, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Tuesday morning.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.3% over last month and 3.1% over the prior year in January, slightly higher than December’s 0.2% month-over-month increase but a deceleration from December’s 3.4% annual gain.

Both measures were higher compared to economist forecasts of a 0.2% month-over-month increase and a 2.9% annual increase, according to data from Bloomberg.

On a “core” basis, which strips out the more volatile costs of food and gas, prices in January climbed 0.4% over the prior month and 3.9% over last year.

The monthly jump represented a slight acceleration from December’s 0.3% increase and was the hottest monthly core reading since April. January’s annual core increase matched December’s.

Both measures were also hotter than economists had expected. Stocks moved lower in early trading following the report.

Notable call-outs from the inflation print include the shelter index, which rose 6% on an unadjusted, annual basis. Sticky shelter inflation is largely to blame for higher core readings, according to economists.

The shelter index contributed over two thirds of the monthly increase in core inflation, increasing 0.6% month-over-month after rising 0.4% in January, according to the BLS.

Within core inflation, rent increases remained elevated with owners’ equivalent rent rising in January.

The index for rent and owners’ equivalent rent rose 0.4% and 0.6% on a monthly basis, respectively. Owners’ equivalent rent is the hypothetical rent a homeowner would pay for the same home.

Other indexes that rose in January included motor vehicle insurance and medical care. The index for used cars and trucks and the index for apparel were among those that decreased over the month, the BLS noted

The food index increased 2.6% in January over the last year, with food prices rising 0.4% from December to January. The index for food at home increased 0.4% over the month after rising just 0.2% in December.

Food away from home rose 0.5% month-over-month after rising 0.3% in December.

Energy prices, meanwhile, continued to fall, declining 4.6% annually and 0.9% month-over-month.

Alexandra Canal is a Senior Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @allie_canal, LinkedIn, and email her at

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