US consumer prices fell in June for the first time in a year as a sharp decline in oil prices eased inflation pressures, official data showed Friday.
Consumer prices dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in June from May, the Labor Department said.
The retreat in consumer inflation was much stronger than expected; the average analyst forecast was for a modest 0.1 percent drop.
Gasoline prices led the decline in the energy price index, diving 6.8 percent from May.
"While this decrease was the major factor in the seasonally adjusted decline in the all items index, the index for household energy declined as well," the Labor Department said.
Energy prices plunged 4.4 percent last month, the steepest decline since December 2008.
Consumers also got some relief from rising food prices. The food index climbed 0.2 percent, the smallest increase of the year.
Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices that can be volatile month-to-month, rose 0.3 percent for the second straight month.
Year-on-year, inflation was up 3.6 percent and core inflation rose 1.6 percent, its highest level since January 2010.