Consumer Inflation Rises To 2.57% In February

Consumer Inflation Rises To 2.57% In February

The Labor Department said on Tuesday its consumer price index grew 0.2 percent in February due to gains in the costs of food, gasoline and rents.

India's factory growth dragged while retail inflation saw an uptick in the data released on Tuesday.

Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2018 was also revised downward to 2.11 % from the earlier estimate of 2.19 per cent. Retail inflation stood at 1.97 per cent in January and 4.44 per cent in February 2018.

"Although inflation has slowed in recent months, it should move gradually higher in the spring and summer", said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services.

Food price inflation for rural areas stood at (-) 1.75 in February 2019 against (-) 2.80 per cent in January and 3.70per cent in February a year ago.

Food inflation based on CPI, however was in negative at 0.66 per cent. "Higher energy prices will push up overall inflation, and rising wages will lead businesses to raise prices in an effort to maintain profit margins". The January PCE price data will be released on March 19 after being delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended on Jan. 25. That compares with 1.6 per cent in the previous month and is the fastest pace since 2015.

Consumer Inflation Rises To 2.57% In February
Consumer Inflation Rises To 2.57% In February

In the 12 months through February, the core CPI rose 2.1 per cent. The CPI increased 1.6 percent on a year-on-year basis in January. The Fed is targeting 2% inflation.

Shelter costs, which account for about a third of CPI and mainly include housing expenses, continued to hold up, with the fourth straight monthly increase of 0.3%.

The public's inflation expectations fell in February, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's latest Survey of Consumer Expectations.

Energy prices rose 0.4 percent, the first increase in four months, as gasoline prices advance 1.5 percent. It hit the U.S. central bank's 2% inflation target in March 2018 for the first time since April 2012. Annual wage growth jumped 3.4% in February, the biggest increase since April 2009, from 3.1% in January. Prices fell for new (-0.2 m/m%) and used (-0.7% m/m) vehicles, prescription drugs (-1.0% m/m), and recreation (-0.4% m/m).

However the average workweek declined in February, given a 0.3% drop in average weekly hours.

In contrast, output of consumer non-durables rose by 3.8 per cent and that of consumer durables by 1.8 per cent.

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