Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Consumer Price Index
The headline CPI slipped down at an annualized rate of 0.8 percent in April, reversing its 0.8 percent gain in March. The overall index was pulled down in part by a 15.8 percent decline in energy prices. Excluding food and energy prices, the core CPI was flat during the month, ticking up just 0.6 percent at an annualized rate, which helped to pull its 12-month growth rate down to 0.9 percent (its smallest growth rate since January 1966). Measures of underlying inflation trends produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI, continued to come in flat, rising at annualized rates of just 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent in April. In fact, on a nonannualized basis, the median CPI has been unchanged for four consecutive months, and seven out of the past ten months. As a result, the 12-month growth rate in the median continues to crawl lower, and is down to 0.5 percent (yet another series low). The underlying component-price-change distribution seems to be exhibiting a tightening up of the extreme tails, with more mass heading toward the center of the distribution. Still, the lower tail (share of the overall index exhibiting price decreases) holds a relatively large amount of mass, nearly 40 percent in April. However, this is down from a somewhat more alarming 56 percent in March. On the upper end of the distribution, just 13 percent of the market basket exhibited price increases in excess of 4 percent in April, compared to an average of 22 percent over the past 12 months. Also, 36 percent of the index rose at rates between 0 and 2 percent, the largest share since February 2009.