Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
The CPI fell at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent in November, as falling gasoline prices more than offset modest increases elsewhere in the retail marketbasket (and overran the sharpest increase in energy services prices since March 2010). Over the past 12 months, the CPI is up 1.8 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from October’s figure. Food prices rose 2.7 percent in November, nearly identical to October’s gain, and are up 1.8 percent over the past year. Excluding food and energy prices, the (“core”) CPI rose 1.4 percent in November, slightly softer than its near-term (three-month) annualized growth rate of 1.8 percent and its 12-month growth rate of 1.9 percent. Our measures of underlying inflation—the median CPI and the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI—rose 2.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Both measures are running a little north of the trend in the core CPI over the past three months, with the trim increasing 2.0 percent and the median up 2.4 percent. Over the past 12 months the median CPI has risen 2.2 percent, while the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI has increased 1.9 percent. The 12-month growth rate in the median CPI hasn’t changed much from the start of the year (slipping just 0.2 percentage points), while the growth rate in the 16 percent trimmed-mean has fallen from roughly 3/4 of a percentage point since January. Some of that relatively elevated near-term trend in the trimmed-mean measures has to do with rising homeowners’ equivalent rent, which increased 2.4 percent in November, and are up 2.6 percent over the past three months (rent of primary residence is up 3.6 percent over the past three months). Still, the influence from rents on the year-over-year growth rate in the median CPI is relatively minor—just 0.1 percentage point.