US Consumer Prices Rise 2.9 Percent

US Consumer Prices Rise 2.9 Percent

The rise in the CPI in July was led by a 0.3% gain in housing costs.

Friday's Labor Department report showed the Consumer Price Index, a broad measure of Americans' living expenses, increased two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month.

Excluding food and energy prices, the core producer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in July after climbing by 0.3 percent in the previous month.

Core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy categories, rose 0.2 percent in June and 2.4 percent from a year earlier.

USA consumer prices rose in July and the underlying trend continued to strengthen, pointing to a steady increase in inflation pressures that keeps the Federal Reserve on track to gradually raise interest rates.

Adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings have fallen 0.1 percent in the past 12 months.

In the 12 months through July, the CPI increased 2.9 percent, matching the increase in June. Apparel prices fell 0.3 percent after declining 0.9 percent in June. Airfares jumped 2.7 per cent, the most since July 2013, following a 0.9 per cent drop in June.

Apparel decreased again, dropping 0.3% after falling 0.9% the prior month.

The core reading brought the three-month annualized gain to 2.3 percent, after rising 1.7 percent in June.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans suggested as much on Thursday, saying it "makes sense" that inflation has risen, considering the strong economy, and that even if inflation moves above 2%, "that is nothing to worry about". Food prices edged up 0.1 per cent after rising 0.2 per cent in June.

Policymakers are widely projected to lift borrowing costs when they meet in September, with many investors expecting an additional increase before the end of the year. Inflation has made progress, and the unemployment rate, at 3.9% in July, signalled that the Fed was near its maximum-employment goal.

The labor market is tight, with more job openings than people to fill them, domestic demand is being buoyed by tax cuts and spending, and tariffs will soon raise the price of imported consumer goods.

The results indicate steady consumer demand will sustain inflation, at a time tariffs and counter-levies by the US and nations including China also threaten to lift costs on a range of goods. But that's getting harder to do as trade tension escalates. A list of Chinese products due to be hit with tariffs next month includes consumer items such as digital cameras, selfie sticks and electric scooters.

Along with the shelter index, the indexes for used cars and trucks, airline fares, new vehicles, household furnishings and operations, and recreation all increased. About 60 percent of the index covers the prices that consumers pay for services ranging from medical visits to airline fares, movie tickets and rents. This article is strictly for informational purposes only.

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