2012 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Price Index  
Released On 12/14/2012 8:30:00 AM For Nov, 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
CPI - M/M change0.1 %-0.2 %-0.3 % to 0.2 %-0.3 %
CPI - Y/Y change2.2 %1.8 %
CPI less food & energy- M/M change0.2 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.2 %0.1 %
CPI less food & energy - Y/Y change2.0 %1.9 %
CPI - level231.751 index level
Core CPI - level230.994 index level

Consumer price inflation dropped in November on lower energy costs and the core rate softened. The consumer price index in November fell 0.3 percent, following a 0.1 percent increase the month before. The latest number posted lower than the consensus forecast for down 0.2 percent.

Excluding food and energy, the CPI rose 0.1 percent, following a boost of 0.2 percent in October. The median market forecast was for a 0.2 percent rise.

By major components, energy fell a monthly 4.1 percent after dipping 0.2 percent in October. Gasoline dropped a monthly 7.4 percent in November, following a decline of 0.6 percent the prior month. Food prices increased 0.2 percent, matching the pace in October.

Within the core, softness was led by declines in prices for apparel and also used cars & trucks.

Year-on-year, overall CPI inflation came in at 1.8 percent versus 2.2 percent in October (seasonally adjusted). The core rate eased to 1.9 percent in November from 2.0 percent the prior month. On an unadjusted year-ago basis, the headline CPI was up 1.8 percent, compared to 2.2 percent in October. The core was up 1.9 percent versus 2.0 percent the month before, not seasonally adjusted.

Today's report clearly is favorable toward the Fed continuing extremely loose monetary policy. The year-ago rates are below the Fed's long-term goal of 2 percent inflation and well below the newly announced trigger of 2.5 percent for unwinding loose policy.

Consensus Outlook
The consumer price index in October slowed to a 0.1 percent increase after a 0.6 percent spike the prior month. Excluding food and energy, the CPI increased 0.2 percent, following a 0.1 percent rise in September. By major components, energy dipped 0.2 percent after jumping a monthly 4.5 percent in September. Gasoline declined 0.6 percent, following a 7.0 percent surge in September. Food prices gained 0.2 percent versus a 0.1 percent rise in September. Within the core, the shelter index rose 0.3 percent as the rent index increased 0.4 percent, its largest rise since June 2008.

The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the change in the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. Monthly changes in the CPI represent the rate of inflation for the consumer. Annual inflation is also closely watched.

The consumer price index is available nationally by expenditure category and by commodity and service group for all urban consumers (CPI-U) and wage earners (CPI-W). All urban consumers are a more inclusive group, representing about 87 percent of the population. The CPI-U is the more widely quoted of the two, although cost-of-living contracts for unions and Social Security benefits are usually tied to the CPI-W, because it has a longer history. Monthly variations between the two are slight.

The CPI is also available by size of city, by region of the country, for cross-classifications of regions and population-size classes, and for many metropolitan areas. The regional and city CPIs are often used in local contracts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces a chain-weighted index called the Chained CPI. This measures a variable basket of goods and services whereas the regular CPI-U and CPI-W measure a fixed basket of goods and services. The Chained CPI is similar to the personal consumption expenditure price index that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve Board.  Why Investors Care
It is always a good idea to look at more than a few months of data to get a sense of changes in established trends. Monthly changes in the CPI are mainly volatile because of sharp fluctuations in food and energy prices. The core CPI eliminates the sharper fluctuations.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
Yearly changes tend to smooth out more severe monthly fluctuations and give a better idea of the underlying rate of inflation. Even with the smoother trend, note that the core CPI does not fluctuate as much as the total CPI.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/192/173/164/135/156/147/178/159/1410/1611/1512/14
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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