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--Overall CPI Slows To +2.3% Y/Y, Core Unchanged At +2.2% Y/Y
--Initial Jobless Claims +7,000 To 214,000; Hurricane Impact Next Week
By Kevin Kastner and Shikha Dave
WASHINGTON (MNI) - The CPI data suggest that consumer inflation
rose only slightly in September, with the headline and core measures
below expectations and the year/year rate for the overall measure
falling from August, data released Thursday morning by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics showed.
Overall CPI posted a 0.1% increase, below the 0.2% gain expected by
both analysts and market participants, while the core CPI rose 0.1%,
also below expectations. MNI analysis released Wednesday showed a
tendency to overestimate core CPI, so this maintains that trend.
Unrounded, the month/month rise for overall CPI was 0.059%, on the
lower side of 0.1% increase, and the unrounded increase for core CPI was
0.116%, on the upper side of a 0.1% increase.
--CORE YEAR/YEAR PRICES UNCHANGED
Overall, the data point to steady progress in consumer inflation,
as the year/year rate for the overall fell while the core measure was
The year/year rate for overall CPI slowed to 2.3% from 2.7%, while
the year/year rate for core CPI was unchanged from 2.2% in August. This
should calm some nerves that tariffs and Hurricane Florence lifted
inflation in the month.
--RENTS RISE, NEW VEHICLES PRICES FALL SLIGHTLY
The large owners' equivalent rents category rose 0.2% and medical
care prices rose 0.2%, while new vehicle prices were down 0.1% and used
vehicles prices fell 3.0%.
Energy prices fell by 0.5% for September after a 1.9% rebound in
August, with gasoline prices down 0.2%, fuel oil prices up 0.3%,
electricity prices down 0.5%, and gas utilities prices down 1.7%. Energy
prices were down 0.3% unadjusted. CPI excluding only energy was up 0.1%.
Food prices were flat in September, with food at home prices
down 0.1% and food away from home prices up 0.2%.
--INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE
In other data released on Thursday, the level of initial claims
rose by 7,000 to 214,000 in the October 6 week after falling to 207,000
in the previous week.
The four-week moving average rose by 2,500 to 209,500, and will
likely rise further next week as the recent-low 202,000 level in the
September 15 employment survey week rolls out of the equation. The
impact of Hurricane Michael is likely to be much larger than that of
Florence last month, so there is a large upside risk to claims for next
Continuing claims rose by 4,000 to 1.660 million in the September
29 week, but the four-week moving average fell to 1.656 million, the
lowest level since the August 18, 1973 week when it was 1.647m.
The recent claims levels are still evidence of a very tight labor
market, however initial claims could be boosted in the coming weeks due
to Hurricane Michael.
** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **