Thursday, February 21, 2013

Key Measures show low inflation in January

by Bill McBride on 2/21/2013 02:57:00 PM

Catching up ... 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% (2.6% annualized rate) in January. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% (2.2% 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. Effective with this release, the median CPI and 16% trimmed-mean CPI have been updated to reflect the annual recalculation of seasonal factors in the monthly CPI report from the BLS.

Earlier today, the BLS reported that the seasonally adjusted CPI for all urban consumers was virtually flat 0.0% (0.3% annualized rate) in January. The CPI less food and energy increased 0.3% (3.1% annualized rate) on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Note: The Cleveland Fed has the median CPI details for January 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 2.1%, the trimmed-mean CPI rose 1.9%, and the CPI less food and energy rose 1.9%. Core PCE is for December and increased 1.4% year-over-year.

On a monthly basis, median CPI was at 2.6% annualized, trimmed-mean CPI was at 2.2% annualized, and core CPI increased 3.1% annualized. Also core PCE for December increased 0.2% annualized.

The inflation report for February will be released on March 15th, a few days before the next Fed meeting.  But with this low level of inflation and the current high level of unemployment, I expect the Fed will keep the "pedal to the metal" at the meeting of March 19th and 20th.

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