US inflation jumps to six-month high

US inflation jumped, as expected, to 1.5 per cent in December year-on-year - the highest it's been since June - from 1.2 per cent in November 2012 to November 2013.

Item prices increased across the board, although they remained modest, with the jump attributed to a temporary rise in energy over the month.

This is the first time CPI's been below two per cent for two years in a row since 1997-8.

The consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.3 per cent in December, in line with expectations and after being unchanged in November.

Core inflation stayed at 1.7 per cent.

ETX Capital's Ishaq Siddiqi said this morning that US inflation figures are "key" as an increasing number of economists now feel that, with lower inflation in developed economies, we could be facing a new era of deflation.

And speaking yesterday, Charles Evans of the Chicago Federal Reserve said that inflationary pressures remain very low.

However, Capital Economics commented this afternoon that there's no reason December's CPI numbers should stop the Fed tapering by another $10bn at its next policy meeting later this month.

The research group adds that there are "few signs that disinflationary forces are growing". A strengthening economy and diminishing spare capacity means core inflation will move towards the Fed’s two per cent target and, perhaps in late 2015 and 2016, rise above it.