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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Key Measures show low inflation in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/16/2013 11:18:00 AM

Note: Researchers at the Cleveland Fed recently wrote a post about the usefulness of median CPI: Forecasting Inflation? Target the Middle.

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 0.1% (1.1% annualized rate) in March. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% (0.7% 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 0.2% (-2.2% annualized rate) in March. The CPI less food and energy increased 0.1% (1.3% annualized rate) on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Note: The Cleveland Fed has the median CPI details for March here. Motor fuel declined at a 40% annualized rate in March following the huge increase in February.

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 1.7%, and the CPI less food and energy rose 1.9%. Core PCE is for January and increased 1.3% year-over-year.

On a monthly basis, median CPI was at 1.1% annualized, trimmed-mean CPI was at 0.7% annualized, and core CPI increased 1.3% annualized. Also core PCE for February increased 0.7% annualized.

With this low level of inflation and the current high level of unemployment, I expect the Fed will continue the large scale asset purchases (QE) at the current level.