Weakened natural gas prices – following a massive run-up last summer – intersected with rising interest rates to ease inflation that had only a few months ago reached a 40-year high.

Further New York Mercantile Exchange gas futures price drops early this year, owing in part to relatively benign winter weather across most of January, along with continued central bank rate hikes last week could further dampen overall inflation, analysts said.

The Consumer Price Index increased at an annual rate of 6.5% in December, according to the U.S. Labor Department. That puts inflation about three times the level that federal officials say is healthy for the economy. Still, the rate decelerated late in 2022, falling from a peak of 9.1% last June, the highest level in four decades.

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