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The consumer price index dropped by half a percent in September, roughly in line with expectations. That means the consumer prices that the index tracks have risen by 2.3 percent from the start of 2007, a fact that many consumers have felt in their bank accounts, and at the grocery: staples from milk to bread have risen in price. The index tracks the average price of goods and services that households consume purchased by households during a stated period of time.

In August, the CPI rose 0.7 percent, which had been beyond expectations. Trend data show that inflation ran at 4.6 percent in the months of June through September, in annualized terms.

Seen over the last 12 months, the index has risen by 1.4 percent. Economic circles in Jerusalem believe that under the circumstances, the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, will be leaving Israeli interest rates unchanged for November, at 4.0 percent. United States interest rates are at 4.75 percent, meaning that if the forecasters are right, for the nonce the interest rate gap between the shekel and dollar will remain at 0.75 percent in the shekel's favor.

However, the price of crude has been spiking and yesterday crossed the $86-per-barrel mark for the first time, which is likely to lift prices of fuels and commodities even more in the near future. Oil futures for November closed 2.9 percent higher at $86.13 per barrel yesterday, the wire services report.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Statistics figures released today show that the housing index fell by 0.8 percent in September, and that the prices of apparel and footwear fell because of end-of-season sales by 3.6 percent.

The bureau also marked a fairly steep 3.1 percent drop in the price of entertainment.