Consumer prices unexpectedly showed a modest decrease in the month of March, according to a report released by Labor Department on Wednesday, with the drop in prices largely due to a notable decline in energy prices.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index edged down 0.1 percent in March following a 0.4 percent increase in February. The modest decrease came as a somewhat of a surprise to economists, who had expected prices to edge up 0.1 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, the core consumer price index rose 0.2 percent for the third consecutive month. Economists had been expecting a 0.1 percent increase in core prices.

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