Consumer prices in the United States rose a bare 0.1% in July despite strong gains in food costs, the country’s Labor Department has reported.

The slowdown in consumer inflation after three months of faster gains left the year-on-year consumer price index up 2%, a level the Federal Reserve's monetary policy makers have regarded as non-threatening.

Food prices were up 0.4% in the month, continuing a high pace of increases since February which are hitting American shoppers in the wallet. Food costs were 2.5% higher than a year ago.

But offsetting that has been a fall in energy prices, with gasoline prices now 0.8% down from a year ago.

Less energy and food, both more volatile components of the index, CPI was up 0.1% for the month and 1.9% over 12 months.