Recent Updates

  • US: Housing Starts by State and Region (Jul)
  • Parkistan Debt & Liabilities (Q2)
  • Slovakia: Loans by Sector (Jun)
  • Azerbaijan: IP (Jul)
  • Serbia: Interest Rates on Securities
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

CPI Again Lifted by Higher Energy Prices; Core Prices Rise Negligibly
by Tom Moeller  May 10, 2019

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% (2.0% y/y) during April following a 0.4% March gain. A 0.4% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The CPI excluding food & energy improved 0.1% (2.1% y/y) for the third consecutive month. A 0.2% rise had been expected.

Higher energy prices continued to lead the overall CPI higher. Their 2.9% jump (1.7% y/y) followed a 3.5% March rise. The strength was again led by gasoline prices which rose 5.7% (3.1% y/y). Fuel oil costs also strengthened 1.3% (-0.9% y/y). Electricity prices held steady (0.6% y/y), but natural gas prices declined 0.8% (-1.9% y/y).

Food prices weakened 0.1% last month (+1.8% y/y) after a 0.3% rise. The decline was paced by a 3.2% drop in egg prices (-16.4% y/y). Fruit & vegetable prices fell 0.9% (+2.2 y/y). Nonalcoholic beverage prices also fell 0.9% (+2.2% y/y). Meat, poultry & fish prices were little changed both m/m and y/y, as the cost of fish & seafood fell sharply for a second straight month (+1.3% y/y). Dairy prices also were weak and posted a minimal 0.1% gain (0.3% y/y).

Service prices improved 0.3% (2.8% y/y), the same as in March. Shelter costs rose an accelerated 0.4% (3.4% y/y) as the cost of lodging away from home strengthened 1.6% (4.1% y/y). Rents of primary residences increased 0.4% (3.8% y/y) and the owners' equivalent rent of primary residences gained a steady 0.3% (3.4% y/y). Recreation services prices improved 0.2% (3.1% y/y) and medical care service prices rose 0.2% (2.3% y/y). Education & communication service costs increased 0.2% (1.5% y/y) as tuition costs likewise gained 0.2% (3.4% y/y). The cost of public transportation rose 0.3% (-1.2% y/y) following many months of decline.

Core goods prices fell 0.3% (-0.2% y/y), down for the third consecutive month. Education & communications goods prices fell 1.1% (-5.0% y/y), and apparel prices were off 0.8% (-3.0% y/y). Furniture & bedding prices declined 0.7% (+1.6% y/y) and recreation product prices fell 0.3% (-1.7% y/y). Sporting goods prices weakened 0.9% (+0.1% y/y). Offsetting these declines, medical care product prices surged 0.9% (0.2% y/y) and appliance prices rose 0.5% (3.3% y/y) following two months of decline. New vehicle prices gained 0.1% (1.2% y/y) but used car & truck prices fell 1.3% (+0.8% y/y).

Also released today were figures on real earnings. The increase in the CPI caused real average hourly earnings to fall 0.1% last month (+1.2% y/y) after a 0.3% decline during March.

The consumer price data can be found in Haver's USECON database with additional detail in CPIDATA. The Action Economics survey figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers (% chg) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Total 0.3 0.4 0.2 2.0 2.4 2.1 1.3
Total less Food & Energy 0.1 0.1 0.1 2.1 2.1 1.8 2.2
  Goods less Food & Energy -0.3 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.7 -0.5
  Services less Energy 0.3 0.3 0.2 2.8 2.9 2.7 3.1
 Food -0.1 0.3 0.4 1.8 1.4 0.9 0.3
 Energy 2.9 3.5 0.4 1.7 7.5 7.9 -6.6
close
large image