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Economy in Brief


by Tom Moeller CPI Total 0.1%, Core Rose 0.2%August 15, 2007

In July, the consumer price index (CPI-U) rose an expected 0.1%. The 0.2% rise in prices less food & energy also was in line with expectations and equaled the average monthly increase so far this year.

The year to year gain in core consumer prices of just under 2.2% was its lowest since last September.

Core goods prices rose 0.1%, the first increase in five months. A 0.4% (-0.3% y/y) rise in apparel prices was the first increase in five months and it was accompanied by a 0.7% rise in the prices of used motor vehicles (-4.3% y/y). New vehicle prices were unchanged (-1.1% y/y) for the fourth month this year. A 0.3% (2.7% y/y) increase in appliance prices was offset by a 0.3% (-0.8% y/y) decline in furniture & bedding costs.These detailed series are available in Haver's CPIDATA data base.

Core services prices rose 0.3% (3.4% y/y) for the fourth consecutive month. Shelter prices rose just 0.2% (3.6% y/y) as the owner's equivalent rent series rose 0.2% (3.1% y/y). Medical care services prices rose a firm 0.6% (5.4% y/y) but public transportation prices fell 0.1% (-0.7% y/y). Tuition costs rose 0.5% (5.5% y/y), however, information technology & hardware prices fell 0.7% (-16.9% y/y).

Energy prices fell 1.0% (+1.0% y/y due to the 1.7% (-1.1%) flop in gasoline prices. So far in August gas prices have fallen another 5.4% from the July average to $2.77 per gallon. Fuel oil prices rose 3.4% (1.6% y/y) last month but natural gas & electricity prices fell 0.5% (+3.8% y/y).

Food & beverage prices rose 0.3% (4.2% y/y) but prices for meats, poultry & fish fell 0.4% (+6.3% y/y).

The chained CPI, which adjusts for shifts in the mix of consumer purchases, fell 0.1% (+2.1% y/y) and the core figure was unchanged (1.8% y/y) for the third consecutive month.

Are Global Prices Converging or Diverging? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Consumer Price Index July June Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Total  0.1% 0.2% 2.4% 3.2% 3.4% 2.7%
 Total less Food & Energy 0.2% 0.2% 2.2% 2.5% 2.2% 1.8%
  Goods less Food & Energy 0.1% -0.1% -0.6% 0.2% 0.5% -0.9%
  Services less Energy 0.3% 0.3% 3.2% 3.4% 2.8% 2.8%
 Energy -1.0% -0.5% 1.0% 11.1% 16.9% 10.8%
 Food & Beverages 0.3% 0.5% 4.2% 2.3% 2.4% 3.4%
             
Chained CPI: Total (NSA) -0.1% 0.2% 2.1% 2.8% 2.9% 2.5%
 Total less Food & Energy 0.0% 0.0% 1.8% 2.3% 1.9% 1.7%
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