2017 Economic Calendar
POWERED BY  econoday logo
U.S. & Intl Recaps   |   Event Definitions   |   Today's Calendar   |   

Consumer Price Index  
Released On 12/13/2017 8:30:00 AM For Nov, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
CPI - M/M change0.1 %0.4 %0.2 % to 0.5 %0.4 %
CPI - Y/Y change2.0 %2.2 %2.0 % to 2.3 %2.2 %
CPI less food & energy- M/M change0.2 %0.2 %0.2 % to 0.3 %0.1 %
CPI less food & energy - Y/Y change1.8 %1.8 %1.8 % to 2.0 %1.7 %

Higher gasoline prices gave a superficial boost to the CPI headline which managed to meet expectations with a 0.4 percent November gain yet when excluding energy and also food, the core comes up 1 tenth short of Econoday's consensus and inched only 0.1 percent higher. A sharp 1.9 percent monthly drop in apparel pulled down the core and also offers strong evidence of holiday discounting which hints at weakness for tomorrow's retail sales report.

But apparel wasn't the only component pulling November's core down as medical care came in unchanged in the month and housing, which represents by far the biggest share of the CPI, slowed by 1 tenth with only a 0.2 percent increase (owners' equivalent rent sub-component also up only 0.2 percent). Two other readings of note are wireless services, which were weak early in the year but have since been rebounding including a 0.3 percent rise in November, and prescription drugs which have shown more recent weakness much of which is now reversed with a 0.6 percent gain.

Gasoline prices surged 7.3 percent last month but, in what points to headline weakness for the December CPI, have since been on the retreat. Food prices were also no help to the headline, coming in unchanged with only a 1.4 percent year-on-year rate.

The overall year-on-year rate did rise 2 tenths but is still soft at only 2.2 percent while the core rate edged lower to a frustratingly low 1.7 percent. Inflation is just lying around, not getting much push from wages in what is an increasing anomaly of this expansion. Yet however soft inflation remains, the labor market appears to be at full employment which gives Federal Reserve policy makers little choice but to raise rates at today's FOMC.

Consensus Outlook
Aside from hurricane-related swings, consumer inflation has been fundamentally flat including October when the monthly rate rose only 0.1 percent while the year-on-year rate fell 2 tenths to 2.0 percent. The core, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2 percent with this yearly rate inching up 1 tenth to 1.8 percent. Wireless service prices, which have fallen steeply this year, have been rebounding in recent months but have been offset by weak prices for vehicles. For November, forecasters see the overall CPI rising 0.4 percent with the less food & energy rate at 0.2 percent. Year-on-year, the CPI is seen rising 2.2 percent with the core at 1.8 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

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/182/153/154/145/126/147/148/119/1410/1311/1512/13
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

powered by  [Econoday]