2018 Economic Calendar
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CPI  
Released On 2/14/2018 8:30:00 AM For Jan, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
CPI - M/M change0.1 %0.2 %0.3 %0.3 % to 0.4 %0.5 %
CPI - Y/Y change2.1 %2.0 %1.9 % to 2.3 %2.1 %
CPI less food & energy- M/M change0.3 %0.2 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.3 %0.3 %
CPI less food & energy - Y/Y change1.8 %1.7 %1.7 % to 2.0 %1.8 %

Highlights
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.

Consensus Outlook
Inflation may be under new scrutiny but one place it has been hard to find is in consumer prices. And not much price traction is expected to appear in January's report with the core rate (less food & energy) seen up a modest 0.2 percent with the year-on-year expected to fall 1 tenth to 1.7 percent. The consensus for the headline CPI is a gain of 0.3 percent for a yearly rate that is also down 1 tenth, at 2.0 percent.

Definition
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
 
[Chart]
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
 
[Chart]
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
 
 

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/122/143/134/115/106/127/128/109/1310/1111/1412/12
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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