US inflation falls below 5% for first time in two years

U.S. inflation fell to 4.9% in the 12 months to April, official figures show.


That was down from 5% in March and marks the tenth month in a row that price rises have slowed.


The fall comes after the US central bank has sharply raised interest rates to try to control inflation.


Inflation in the US peaked last June at 9.1%, the highest it has been since 1981.


But officials have hesitated to declare victory, as a problem that once seemed contained to particular sectors, such as energy and manufactured goods, has spread throughout the economy.


Housing, petrol and used car prices all jumped from March to April. The cost of haircuts, veterinary visits and gardening services also climbed.


And though no longer soaring, overall prices continue to rise far more quickly than the 2% rate the Federal Reserve considers healthy.


So-called core inflation, which does not include food and energy prices, rose by 5.5% in the 12 months to April.


The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates 10 times since last March, bringing them to the highest levels since 2007.


The moves are intended to discourage people from borrowing, leading economic activity to slow and easing the pressures that are pushing up prices.


The head of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, signalled this month that officials believe they may have done enough to get inflation under control and could be ready to pause their programme of rate rises.


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