U.S. consumer prices fell in April by the most in more than four years, driven lower by a sharp drop in gasoline costs, the government reported Thursday.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index (CPI) fell 0.4 percent last month, the biggest decline since late 2008, when the United States was at the peak of its financial crisis. Analysts had expected a smaller April decline.
The main reason the index fell was that gasoline prices plunged 8.1 percent, also the biggest decline since late 2008. Excluding volatile energy and food costs, core CPI rose 0.1 percent last month on higher rents and prices of new and used vehicles. Prices for airline tickets and clothing fell.
Core prices have risen only 1.7 percent in the past 12 months, below the Fed's 2 percent target. The reading was at its lowest since mid-2011 and could cause concerns about cooling demand in the U.S. economy or perhaps the risk of deflation.