Tangible increases in many basics lead a stronger-than-expected 0.5 percent jump in consumer prices for January. The core, which excludes food and energy, confirms the strength, up 0.3 percent which hits Econoday's high estimate. Despite the strength, neither year-on-year rate were able to advance, at 2.1 percent overall and 1.8 percent for the core.
Transportation leads the month, up a very sharp 1.8 percent with parking, vehicle leasing, body work, insurance and vehicle fees all up in what looks like beginning-of-the-year price increases. Prices of new vehicles actually fell 0.1 percent though used cars were up 0.4 percent.
Medical care, which had been flat, rose 0.4 percent despite a 0.2 percent dip in the closely watched prescription drug component. Hospital services jumped 1.3 percent with health insurance up 0.6 percent.
Apparel, which had been sinking sharply, popped back in January with a 1.7 percent jump led by a 3.4 percent surge in women's apparel.
Gasoline prices were up in the 5.7 percent in January which fed a 3.0 percent rise for energy. Food prices remain subdued, up 0.2 percent. Housing, which is the largest component in this report, rose only 0.2 percent though the owners' equivalent rent sub-component rose 0.3 percent for a second straight month.
Consumer prices are showing what could, in retrospect, be seen as emerging life, early acceleration tied perhaps to the emergence of underlying wage pressures. Today's report is certain to lend itself to anti-inflationary prudence especially among the hawks on the FOMC.