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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Prices Increase Marginally; Energy Prices Fall
by Tom Moeller  November 15, 2012

Consumer price inflation eased last month. The overall consumer price index ticked up an expected 0.1% (2.2% y/y) following two successive 0.6% increases. The easing was due to a 0.2% (4.0% y/y) decline in energy prices following two sharp monthly increases. Food price inflation, however, firmed a bit with a 0.2% rise (1.7% y/y). Prices excluding food & energy rose 0.2% (2.0% y/y) following three 0.1% monthly gains.

Energy prices moved 0.2% lower as gasoline prices fell 0.6% (+9.1% y/y). Fuel oil prices, however, rose 1.1% (5.6% y/y). Offsetting the energy price decline was a 0.2% increase in food prices. Meat, poultry & egg prices gained 0.8% (2.2% y/y) while dairy product prices also rose 0.8% (-1.1% y/y). These increases were offset by lower beverage costs (-0.2% y/y). 

For goods alone, prices excluding food & energy fell 0.1% (+0.7% y/y). The decline mostly reflected a 0.9% decline (-2.1% y/y) in used car prices and a 0.1% dip (+1.0% y/y) in new vehicle costs. To the upside, apparel prices rose 0.7% (3.0% y/y) while appliance prices gained 0.5% (0.8% y/y).

Another 0.3% increase (2.5% y/y) in core service prices reflected an improved 0.3% rise (2.3% y/y) in shelter costs (32% of the CPI). Owners equivalent rent of primary residences rose 0.2% (2.1% y/y). The y/y increase compares to a low of -0.3% in early 2010. Public transportation prices, however, were even stronger with a 1.7% (0.6% y/y) increase and education costs rose 0.4% (3.6% y/y). Both medical care service prices (3.9% y/y) and recreation services prices were unchanged (3.3% y/y).

The consumer price data is available in Haver's USECON database while detailed figures can be found in CPIDATA. The expectations figure is from Action Economics and is found in the AS1REPNA database.

 

Consumer Price Index(%) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total 0.1 0.6 0.6 2.2 3.1 1.6 -0.3
Total less Food & Energy 0.2 0.1 0.1 2.0 1.7 1.0 1.7
  Goods less Food & Energy -0.1 -0.2 -0.2 0.7 1.3 1.1 1.3
  Services less Energy 0.3 0.3 0.1 2.5 1.8 0.9 1.9
 Food 0.2 0.1 0.2 1.7 3.7 0.8 1.8
 Energy -0.2 4.5 5.6 4.0 15.2 9.6 -18.2
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