Rising energy costs likely pushed consumer prices up in October, but core inflation was likely tempered by sagging rents, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
A forecast 0.2 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index, the most broadly used gauge of inflation, would match September's increase, based on the median estimate of 78 economists.
With the erratic food and energy sectors stripped out, the so-called core rate of consumer prices is forecast to rise 0.1 percent after gaining 0.2 percent in September.
Economists said steady to slightly lower readings in rent and owners' equivalent rent will likely offset new car prices, which are expected to have moved higher.
Rental vacancies are at record highs and are still increasing, which should continue to put downward pressure on rents, JPMorgan Chase Bank analysts wrote in their Global Data Watch.
New car prices are expected to move higher, reflecting the remaining unwind of the cash-for-clunkers effect, while quotes for used cars should continue the upward trend seen in recent months, Morgan Stanley & Co Inc analysts said in research notes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the CPI report for October at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) on Wednesday. (Polling by Bangalore Polling Unit) (Reporting by Nancy Waitz; Editing by Dan Grebler)