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Inflation improving as Fed considers interest rate hike

Analysts say inflation, once at a 40-year high, is starting to fall.

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — Rising prices have been weighing on Americans for years, but that burden could be letting up.

Analysts say inflation, once at a 40-year high, is starting to fall.

“Inflation peaked at 9.1 percent last June, and it has since come down to 5 percent," Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina, said. "So, meaningful progress."

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While the U.S. Department of Agriculture said food costs are up more than 8 percent this year compared to last year, Americans did see a slight dip in grocery prices from February to March.

As for gas, AAA said prices are down more than $0.55 cents on average from last year, though the pain isn't over yet.

"It’s not abnormal to see gas prices going up this time of year," Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis with GasBuddy, said. "We have the changeover to more expensive summer gasoline, which is basically complete now, as well as rising demand for gasoline as spring breakers it the road."

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To keep inflation going down, the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates again this week, increasing costs for big-ticket items like cars and homes.

"As we see the cost going up, that means that consumers are going to buy less of these big-ticket items," Von Nessen said. "So, that’s going to taper demand, and that's what we want. Tapering demand is what's going to help pull inflation down.”

So, when it comes to the price consumers pay, "we still have a long way to go," Von Nessen said, but things are improving little by little.

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Contact Kayland Hagwood at khagwood@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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