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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Prices Rise Modestly
by Tom Moeller  October 30, 2013

The September consumer price index matched expectations and increased 0.2% (1.5% y/y). That followed an unrevised 0.1% uptick during August. Prices excluding food and energy again rose a minimal 0.1% (1.7% y/y) and contrasted with expectations for a 0.2% rise.

A quickened 0.8% rise (-3.1% y/y) in energy prices pushed the CPI higher. Natural gas prices gained 1.8% (5.3% y/y) while fuel oil costs rose 0.9% (-3.1% y/y). Gasoline prices increased 0.8% (-7.5% y/y) and electricity prices rose 0.5% (3.2% y/y). Food prices were unchanged (1.4%y/y). Meat, poultry & fish prices gained 0.3% (3.1% y/y) and cereal & bakery product costs rose 0.2% (1.6% y/y). These increases were offset by a 0.9% decline (+3.0% y/y) in fruit & vegetable costs and a 0.2% fall (-1.8% y/y) in beverage prices.

Prices for goods less food and energy slipped 0.1% (-0.1% y/y). Appliance prices increased 0.7% (-1.0% y/y), new vehicle prices gained 0.1% (1.2% y/y) and medical care product prices ticked 0.1% higher (0.2% y/y). To the downside, furniture costs were off 0.8% (-2.2% y/y), recreational product prices declined 0.7% (-2.2% y/y) and apparel prices fell 0.5% (+0.8% y/y).

Core services prices rose 0.2% (2.4% y/y) for the fifth consecutive month. The increase was driven by a 0.9% rise (1.6% y/y) in public transportation costs. Medical care costs rose 0.3% (3.1% y/y) as did recreation services prices (1.7% y/y). Shelter costs (32% of the CPI) gained 0.2% (2.4% y/y) while owners equivalent rent of primary residences also rose 0.2% (2.2% 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 (%) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total 0.2 0.1 0.2 1.2 2.1 3.1 1.6
Total less Food & Energy 0.1 0.1 0.2 1.7 2.1 1.7 1.0
  Goods less Food & Energy -0.1 -0.0 0.0 -0.1 1.3 1.3 1.1
  Services less Energy 0.2 0.2 0.2 2.4 2.4 1.8 0.9
 Food 0.0 0.1 0.1 1.4 2.6 3.7 0.8
 Energy 0.8 -0.3 0.2 -3.1 0.9 15.2 9.6
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