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Consumer Prices Hold Steady in July

In a sign that inflation is not roaring back as the economy stabilizes, consumer prices were flat in July from a month earlier, the government reported on Friday.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index was unchanged from June on a seasonally adjusted basis, and that prices this summer were 2.1 percent lower than last July, when soaring oil costs drove gasoline prices to $4 a gallon and lifted the cost of food and other products.

The drop in the last year has been the largest in almost 60 years, coming as the global economic crisis reduced demand for a host of goods and services.

Economists had been expecting no change in the cost of living in July. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the so-called core rate of inflation rose 0.1 percent, also in line with expectations.

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