US inflation surges to near 40-year high, testing Biden

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US consumer prices rose last month at a rate not seen in nearly 40 years, the government reported, underscoring how inflation threatens the world´s largest economy and President Joe Biden´s public support.

The Labor Department´s consumer price index (CPI) jumped 6.8 percent compared to November of last year, its biggest gain since June 1982 as prices for gasoline, used cars, rent, food and other goods continued to climb.

While the report contained signs that the inflation wave may be reaching a crest, it nonetheless poses a political liability for the president, with the Republican opposition using it to argue against his economic policies.

Biden countered that the report did not encompass recent declines in prices of energy and used cars, two main drivers of the high inflation readings seen this year, and that supply chain issues which have driven prices higher are being resolved.

“Today´s numbers reflect the pressures that economies around the world are facing as we emerge from a global pandemic — prices are rising,” Biden said in a statement, adding that “price and cost increase are slowing, although not as quickly as we´d like.”

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell put the blame on the White House, saying that the data “confirm what every American family already knows: Inflation is out of control on the Democrats´ watch.”

Gasoline prices rose 6.1 percent last month, while prices of used cars climbed 2.5 percent, according to the CPI report. However, those were both the same increases as in October.—AFP

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