WASHINGTON — Prices for a wide variety of consumer goods held steady in July, pushing down the annual inflation rate in a report that could add to economic concerns of Federal Reserve officials.

The rise in the consumer price index during the previous four months was halted by a 4.7 percent drop in gasoline prices in July, which offset modest increases in other goods and services, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

Consumer prices had risen 0.2 percent in June.

Analysts expected the overall index to be unchanged. But they had forecast that so-called core prices, which exclude often-volatile food and energy costs, would rise 0.2 percent in July.

With lower gas prices, the core price index increased just 0.1 percent.

Economists say a moderate increase in prices is important for overall growth, helping push up wages and make it more cost-effective to borrow money.

Federal Reserve policymakers want to see inflation rising 2 percent a year. But the recovery from the Great Recession has been marked by extremely low inflation. For the 12 months that ended July 31, prices increased 0.8 percent. That was down from the 1 percent increase for the 12 months that ended June 30.

Lower gasoline costs have been a major factor in the low inflation rate, although prices at the pump had been rising since February before July’s decline.

Core prices were up 2.2 percent for the 12 months that ended July 31, the eighth consecutive month of at least 2 percent year-over-year growth and a sign that inflation might be firming.

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