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Economy in Brief

U.S. CPI Increase Slowed Last Month; Core Pricing Picked Up 
by Tom Moeller  December 15, 2016

The consumer price index increased 0.2% (1.7% y/y) during November following an unrevised 0.4% October rise. The gain matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Prices excluding food & energy gained 0.2% (2.1% y/y) following two months of 0.1% rise. A 0.2% increase had been expected.

Stronger energy prices continued to lead overall pricing with a 1.2% rise (1.1% y/y). It was the third straight month of strong increase. Gasoline prices increased 2.7% ( 1.0% y/y). Fuel oil prices declined 1.2% (-2.0% y/y) while natural gas prices eased 0.4% (+6.2% y/y). Electricity costs held steady (0.2% y/y).

Food prices remained unchanged (-0.4% y/y) for the third straight month. Dairy product prices declined 0.6% (-1.7% y/y). Fruit & vegetable prices fell 0.2% (-1.5% y/y) along with meat prices (-5.1% y/y). Cereal & bakery product costs improved 0.1% (-0.7% y/y) as did egg prices (-33.3% y/y). Nonalchoholic beverage prices increased 0.3% (-0.7% y/y). 

Non-energy services prices increased 0.3% (3.0% y/y), the quickest gain in three months. Transportation services prices increased 0.4% (2.5% y/y) as motor vehicle insurance costs strengthened 1.0% (6.7% y/y). Shelter prices rose 0.3% (3.6% y/y) while owners' equivalent rent of primary residences increased 0.3% (3.5% y/y). Rental prices of primary residences also rose 0.3% (3.9% y/y), but prices for housing away from home fell 1.1% (-2.2% y/y). Recreation services prices improved 0.3% (3.2% y/y), and tuition costs rose 0.2% (2.4% y/y). Medical care services prices gained 0.2% (3.9% y/y) following two months of remaining unchanged. 

Prices for goods other than food & energy declined 0.3% (-0.7% y/y) after a 0.1 rise. Appliance costs fell 0.9% (-4.0% y/y) and household furnishings prices fell 0.4% (-2.0 y/y). Apparel prices were off 0.5% (+0.3% y/y) as were medical care goods prices (+4.3 y/y). Recreation goods prices fell 0.3% (-3.8% y/y) while new vehicle prices eased 0.1% (+0.2 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, All Urban Consumers (%) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 0.2 0.4 0.3 1.7 0.1 1.6 1.5
Total less Food & Energy 0.2 0.1 0.1 2.1 1.8 1.7 1.8
  Goods less Food & Energy -0.3 0.1 -0.1 -0.7 -0.5 -0.3 -0.0
  Services less Energy 0.3 0.2 0.2 3.0 2.6 2.5 2.4
 Food -0.0 -0.0 0.0 -0.4 1.9 2.4 1.4
 Energy 1.2 3.5 2.9  1.1 -16.7 -0.3 -0.7
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