WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) remained unchanged for the second consecutive month in January, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The report said energy prices dropped 1.7 percent last month and gasoline prices fell 3 percent while food costs remained flat.
Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the so-called "core" inflation index rose 0.3 percent in January.
The CPI rose 1.6 percent in the 12 months ending January, below the Federal Reserve's 2-percent target inflation rate.
Economists monitor core prices to get a sense of broader inflation trends, a key barometer for monetary policy decisions by the central bank. The Fed on Wednesday said the nation's long-term inflation expectations remained stable.