US Inflation Flat In November December 17, 2013 Prices for U.S. goods and services were flat in November, amid falling gasoline costs. Tuesday's report from the Labor Department shows very little annual inflation, as prices rose just 1.2 percent over the past 12 months. Other data show the gap between what Americans sell and invest overseas and what they buy abroad improved in the third quarter. The measure, called the current account deficit, fell slightly to hit the lowest level in four years ( $94.8 billion ) in July, August and September. A deficit in trade and investment can cheapen a nation's currency and slow the economy by pushing up interest rates. Top officials of the U.S. central bank are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington to consider interest rate policy and decide when to reduce efforts to stimulate the economy with low interest rates. Cheap loans make it easier for businesses to buy equipment and families to buy homes or cars. The Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates nearly to zero several years ago. The Fed has also been trying to push down long term interest rates with a program of buying $85 billion a month in bonds. Stories in the financial press say the Fed might announce a cut in that purchase program at a news conference on Wednesday. But many experts say they do not expect a cutback until sometime next year.
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