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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Prices Dip With Lower Energy Prices
by Tom Moeller  November 20, 2013

The October consumer price index slipped 0.1% (1.0% y/y) following an unrevised 0.2% increase during September. Expectations had been for no change in prices. Consumer prices excluding food and energy matched expectations and rose a minimal 0.1% (1.7% y/y).

A 1.7% decline (-4.9% y/y) in energy prices held back the CPI. Gasoline prices declined 2.9% (-10.1% y/y) and natural gas costs dropped 1.0% (+4.4% y/y). Fuel oil prices were off 0.6% (-4.6% y/y) but electricity prices ticked up 0.1% (3.0% y/y). Food prices rose a minimal 0.1% (1.3% y/y). Meat, poultry & fish prices gained 0.6% (3.0% y/y) while fruit & vegetable costs improved 0.2% (2.7% y/y). Countering these gains were cereal & bakery product costs which were off 0.4% (+0.9% y/y) and dairy product prices that slipped 0.2% (-0.2% y/y).

Prices for goods less food and energy slipped 0.1% (-0.1% y/y). Appliance prices were unchanged (-2.5% y/y), new vehicle prices slipped 0.1% (+1.0% y/y) and apparel prices fell 0.5% (-0.2% y/y). Furniture costs slipped 0.1% (-2.2% y/y) and recreational product prices were unchanged (2.0% y/y). Working 0.3% higher (0.5% y/y) were medical care product prices.

Core services prices rose 0.2% (2.3% y/y) for the sixth consecutive month. Public transportation costs remained strong and posted a 2.2% jump (2.5% y/y) and recreation services prices rose 0.2% (1.8% y/y). Shelter costs (32% of the CPI) gained 0.1% (2.3% y/y) while owners equivalent rent of primary residences rose 0.2% (2.3% y/y). Medical care costs slipped 0.1% (+2.9% 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. 

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Consumer Price Index (%) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total -0.1 0.2 0.1 1.0 2.1 3.1 1.6
Total less Food & Energy 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.7 2.1 1.7 1.0
  Goods less Food & Energy -0.1 -0.1 -0.0 -0.1 1.3 1.3 1.1
  Services less Energy 0.2 0.2 0.2 2.3 2.4 1.8 0.9
 Food 0.1 0.0 0.1 1.3 2.6 3.7 0.8
 Energy -1.7 0.8 -0.3 -4.9 0.9 15.2 9.6
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