Inflation Up By Largest Amount In 17 Years

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — Higher costs for energy and food in 2007 have pushed inflation up by the largest amount in 17 years.

Consumer prices rose by 4.1 percent for all of last year. That’s up sharply from a 2.5 percent increase in 2006. Prices for both energy and food shot up by the largest amount since 1990.

But outside of food and energy, inflation was more moderate. The so-called core rate rose by 2.4 percent for all of 2007, down slightly from a 2.6 percent increase in 2006.

For December, the Consumer Price Index rose by three-tenths of a percent. With food and energy excluded, it was up two-tenths of a percent.

The Federal Reserve is closely watching to see whether the jump in food and energy becomes more widespread and starts pushing core inflation higher.