2016 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Price Index  
Released On 12/15/2016 8:30:00 AM For Nov, 2016
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
CPI - M/M change0.4 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.3 %0.2 %
CPI - Y/Y change1.6 %1.7 %
CPI less food & energy- M/M change0.1 %0.2 %0.2 % to 0.3 %0.2 %
CPI less food & energy - Y/Y change2.1 %2.1 %

Inflation at the consumer level remains low. The CPI rose 0.2 percent in November with the year-on-year rate up 1 tenth to plus 1.7 percent. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, also rose 0.2 percent with this year-on-year unchanged at 2.1 percent.

Food prices were unchanged in November though energy did move sharply, up 1.2 percent and led by a 2.7 percent jump in gasoline. Excluding just energy, the CPI rose only 0.1 percent.

The Labor Department is citing housing as a central area of consistent price pressure. The housing component only rose 0.2 percent in November but was up 0.4 percent in both of the prior two months. Owners' equivalent rent, a closely watched reading in this report, rose 0.3 percent for a second straight month.

Medical prices have also been a source of pressure but were unchanged in November for a second month in a row. Apparel is a weak point in the report, down 0.5 percent for the second steep monthly fall of the last three months. Weakness here hints at holiday discounting.

The year-on-year rates are inching forward but just barely. Low inflation will allow the Fed to be patient when raising rates.

Consensus Outlook
Energy prices skewed the October consumer price index 0.4 percent higher with the less food & energy rate up only 0.1 percent. Outside of energy, there was little pressure to be found in the October report though housing costs did show limited strength. Forecasters see the consumer price index for November rising only 0.2 percent with the less food & energy rate also up 0.2 percent.

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

2016 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/202/193/164/145/176/167/158/169/1610/1811/1712/15
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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