Friday, December 14, 2012

Key Measures show low inflation in November

by Bill McBride on 12/14/2012 12:23:00 PM

The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI and the trimmed-mean CPI this morning:

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% (2.3% annualized rate) in November. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index increased 0.1% (1.6% annualized rate) during the month. The median CPI and 16% trimmed-mean CPI are measures of core inflation calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland based on data released in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) monthly CPI report.

Earlier today, the BLS reported that the seasonally adjusted CPI for all urban consumers fell 0.3% (-3.7% annualized rate) in November. The CPI less food and energy increased 0.1% (1.4% annualized rate) on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Note: The Cleveland Fed has the median CPI details for November here.

Inflation Measures Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the year-over-year change for these four key measures of inflation. On a year-over-year basis, the median CPI rose 2.2%, the trimmed-mean CPI rose 1.9%, the CPI rose 1.8%, and the CPI less food and energy rose 1.9%. Core PCE is for October and increased 1.7% year-over-year.

On a monthly basis, median CPI was above the Fed's target at 2.3% annualized. However trimmed-mean CPI was at 1.6% annualized, and core CPI increased 1.4% annualized. Also core PCE for October increased 1.6% annualized. These measures suggest inflation is mostly below the Fed's target of 2% on a year-over-year basis.

The Fed's focus will probably be on core PCE and core CPI, and both are at or below the Fed's target on year-over-year basis. Also, the FOMC statement this week indicated the Fed will tolerate an inflation outlook "between one and two years ahead" of 2 1/2 percent.

So, with this low level of inflation and the current high level of unemployment, the Fed will keep the "pedal to the metal".

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