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US August CPI is seen coming in at +0.4% M/M on headline (+5.3% Y/Y) and +0.3% core (+4.2% Y/Y) in the Bloomberg survey. This outturn would be a modest deceleration overall from July, which saw +0.5% M/M / +5.4% Y/Y headline and +0.3% M/M / +4.3% core, and well off the June peak.

  • Digging into the survey, for core, the range of estimates is from 0.0 to 0.4%, with average 0.28% and standard deviation 0.07%. (suggesting a 0.25-0.35% unrounded outcome would be more or less in line with expectations, so the unrounded figure is worth a look in case of a 0.2% or 0.4% print).
  • Looking at sell-side breakdowns, it's basically unanimous consensus that used car prices - which have been a big driver of core prices this year - will decline M/M, while most expect softness in Delta-hit categories including airfares.
  • But new vehicle pricing is seen remaining elevated and potentially accelerating on chip-related bottlenecks.
  • Shelter prices are seen as the key to the medium-term core outlook, and most appear to see an acceleration in August (OER was +0.3% M/M in Jul and Jun, and rents were +0.2%).

Aug 2021 Core CPI M/M BBG Survey DistributionSource: Bloomberg, MNI