Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
The headline CPI fell at an annualized rate of −1.0 percent in October, as a dip in energy prices (led by a 31.6 percent decrease in motor fuel) more than offset a modest 1.4 percent increase in food prices. October’s increase in food prices was the smallest of the year (so far) and was due in large part to a fairly sizeable 28 percent decrease in fresh fruits and vegetables prices. Most of the other food categories were in the upper tail of the price change distribution. Given the decrease in the headline CPI in October, we are finally starting to see some slowing in its year-over-year rate—which ticked down from 3.9 percent to 3.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” CPI rose 1.6 percent in October, following a 0.7 percent increase in September. Over the past three months, the series has risen at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent, slightly below its 6-month growth rate of 2.4 percent and its 12-month growth rate of 2.1 percent. The median CPI rose 2.3 percent and the 16 percent trimmed-mean measure rose 1.4 percent in October. As was the case last month, both measures came in below their respective 3- and 6-month growth rates. Over the past year, the median CPI is up 2.2 percent, while the trim is up 2.5 percent. There was modest disagreement between the median and trim in October (2.3 percent versus 1.4 percent) and that appears to be the result of the trimmed-mean picking up onthe downside skew in this month’s price change distribution (a large part of that was the decreases in the energy and autos components). Interestingly, the 16 percent trimmed-mean has been a little more variable than the median over the past five months or so.