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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Prices Remain Unchanged
by Tom Moeller  December 17, 2013

Consumer prices held steady during November (1.2% y/y) following an unrevised 0.1% October slip. Expectations had been for a 0.1% uptick. Consumer prices excluding food and energy increased 0.2% (1.7% y/y), stronger than the expected 0.1% uptick.

A 1.0% decline (-2.5% y/y) in energy prices held back the CPI last month. Gasoline prices were off 1.6% (-5.8% y/y) and natural gas costs dropped 1.8% (+1.0% y/y). Fuel oil prices jumped 1.0% (-0.3% y/y) and electricity prices bumped up 0.3% (2.9% y/y). Food prices again rose a scant 0.1% (1.2% y/y). Meat, poultry & fish prices slipped 0.2% (+2.8% y/y) while fruit & vegetable costs declined 0.7% (+1.7% y/y). To the upside, dairy product prices gained 0.4% (-0.7% y/y) but cereal & bakery product prices were unchanged (0.7% y/y).

Prices for goods less food and energy slipped 0.1% (-0.2% y/y) for the third straight month. Appliance prices were off 0.5% (-3.4% y/y) and apparel prices fell 0.4% (-0.1% y/y). Furniture costs also declined 0.4% (-2.4% y/y) and new vehicle prices ticked 0.1% lower (+0.6 y/y). Medical care product prices remained unchanged (+0.8 y/y) as did recreational goods prices (-1.9% y/y).

Core services prices rose 0.3% (2.4% y/y). Public transportation costs again were strong and posted a 1.7% jump (3.7% y/y), tuition prices rose 0.5% (3.4% y/y) and recreation services prices were up 0.3% (1.9% y/y). Shelter costs (32% of the CPI) gained 0.3% (2.4% y/y) while owners equivalent rent of primary residences rose 0.3% (2.4% y/y). Medical care costs were unchanged (2.6% 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 (%) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total 0.0 -0.1 0.2 1.2 2.1 3.1 1.6
Total less Food & Energy 0.2 0.1 0.1 1.7 2.1 1.7 1.0
  Goods less Food & Energy -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.2 1.3 1.3 1.1
  Services less Energy 0.3 0.2 0.2 2.4 2.4 1.8 0.9
 Food 0.1 0.1 0.0 1.2 2.6 3.7 0.8
 Energy -1.0 -1.7 0.8 -2.5 0.9 15.2 9.6
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