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Metro area consumer prices rise 1.6% from year earlier on housing costs

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose last month from a year earlier on higher housing costs.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island increased 1.6 percent last month compared with December 2017. In December the cost of housing, including residential rent, rose 2 percent from a year earlier.

Grocery prices were up 1.8 percent.

The cost of gasoline climbed 1.3 percent, year over year. Electricity and natural gas prices rose 3.1 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.

The cost of medical care was up 3.3 percent compared with December 2017.

The increases were partially offset by a 0.5 percent drop in the price of clothing, year over year. The cost of new and used cars was down 2.7 percent.

In recent months the index has climbed about 2 percent, year over year.

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