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March consumer prices drop 0.1%, annual inflation tumbles 0.4%

Pushed down by declining energy prices, U.S. consumer prices dropped in March, and the annual inflation rate dipped for the first time since 1955, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most closely watched gauge for inflation, fell 0.1% after increasing 0.4% in February. The decline was unexpected with many analysts forecasting an increase around 0.1%. On an annual basis, inflation was down 0.4%, marking the first decline since August 1955.

While deflation fears were eased with rising prices revealed in the CPI data for February, the latest numbers rekindle notice.

"We’re in a very deep global recession that’s going to hold prices down," Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, was quoted on Bloomberg. "Deflation is still something that’s a risk, though I don’t think we’ll get into a deflationary spiral."

However, during the last several weeks an outlook for potential stinging inflation has been more of the economic buzz. Continue reading March consumer prices drop 0.1%, annual inflation tumbles 0.4%

Inflation calculator, inflation rates update – 4/15

U.S. consumer prices dropped unexpectedly in March and marked the first annual drop since 1955, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provided on Wednesday, April 15.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) data has the annual inflation rate at -0.4% compared to the February rate of 0.2%. On a monthly basis, consumer prices fell 0.1 percent, after increasing 0.4 percent in February.

The Inflation Calculator is updated with the newest government information, as are the following pages:

Consumer Price Index Data from 1913 to 2009

Current Inflation Rates: 1999-2009

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2009

Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation

For an in depth look at March consumer prices, read Consumer prices drop 0.1%.

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Cheap energy pushes producer prices down 1.2%

U.S. Producer prices fell 1.2% in March as lower energy prices drove down costs more than expected, according to a Labor Department report released Tuesday.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) measures prices at the factory door and inflation pressures before they reach the consumer. In a reversal after two months of gains, the latest PPI figures again raise notes of deflationary concern for some economists. However, they are outweighed by the Fed’s mission to spur economic activity.

"Clearly, deflation is a concern right now, though the biggest worry is to restore growth," Anika Khan, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, was quoted on Bloomberg. With inflation contained, "it gives the Fed more room to try to restore growth."

Deflation is a persistent decrease in general prices, or the opposite of inflation. Falling prices may seem like good news for consumers, but only to a certain extent. If prices mark sustained deflationary levels that strike below the cost to produce goods and services, further economic turmoil can ensue with production cuts, payroll reductions and deepening unemployment. Continue reading Cheap energy pushes producer prices down 1.2%

Fed to buy $1 trillion in securities, expects inflation to remain subdued

With expectations for inflation to remain under control and in a move to combat the recession, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it would pump more than $1 trillion into the economy.

In a statement following the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said it would:

  • Increase its purchases of mortgage-backed securities by $750 billion, on top of the already announced $500 billion
  • Buy $300 billion of long-term Treasurys over the next six months

The Fed hopes the first measure will pull down mortgage rates and the second will help ease the credit crunch. Immediately following the news, U.S. stocks rallied, bond prices surged and gold prices reversed direction. Continue reading Fed to buy $1 trillion in securities, expects inflation to remain subdued

Consumer prices jump 0.4%, annual inflation at 0.2%

Energy prices drove consumer prices higher for a second month in February and at the fastest pace in seven months, the Labor Department said Wednesday. About two-thirds of the increases resulted from a jump in gasoline pump prices. And with that, the annual U.S. inflation rate climbed to 0.2% after the 0% reading reported in January.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4% in February — the biggest one-month jump since July — and follows the 0.3% rise in January that economists were again expecting. The extra bump helps dispel some fears of chronic price declines, known as deflation, which can have a devastating impact on the economy and employment.

"Worries about deflation can be set aside right now," Bernard Baumohl, managing director of the Economic Outlook Group, was quoted on NYTimes.com. "It’s unlikely we would have seen inflation drop to negative levels for more than a year, given all the fiscal and monetary stimulus that’s in the economy. The math just didn’t work out."

The CPI is the key government gauge for inflation. The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is even more closely watched. It increased by 0.2% for the second month in a row. Continue reading Consumer prices jump 0.4%, annual inflation at 0.2%

Inflation rates and charts – 3/18 update

Consumer prices increased more than the February forecast and to 0.4%, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provided on Wednesday, March 18.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) data has the annual inflation rate at 0.2% compared to the January rate of 0%, which marked the lowest level since 1955.

The Inflation Calculator is updated with the newest government information, as are the following pages:

Consumer Price Index Data from 1913 to 2009

Current Inflation Rates: 1999-2009

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2009

Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation

For an in depth look at February consumer prices, follow Consumer prices jump 0.4%, inflation at 0.2%.

 

Producer prices up 0.1% in February, less than expected

U.S. Producer prices climbed 0.1% in February as higher energy prices weighed into the increase for the second consecutive month, according to a Labor Department report released Tuesday.

However, the increase was less than expected, with analysts forecasting a 0.4% rise in the government’s Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures prices at the factory door and inflation pressures before they reach the consumer.

"There’s just a huge amount of slack now in the U.S. economy and the global economy" that’s keeping prices down, said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida. "That’s going to hang around for some time."

The PPI rose 0.8% in January, which was the first increase since August 2008. Continue reading Producer prices up 0.1% in February, less than expected

Apocalypse Now… Inflation. Deflation.

Inflation. Deflation. Inflation. Deflation. . . . Back and forth we go as the carousel of experts debate unendingly about whether or not the U.S.S. Armageddon is facing a northerly or southerly economic wind. Meanwhile, all hands on deck are getting sea sick.

Since GoldandSilverNow.com launched in early November, I’ve spent long hours on the telephone with people from across this nation. The truth is, ordinary folks aren’t talking about inflation or deflation. The words are: Desperation. Starvation. Migration. Depravation. Damnation . . . Obamanation. Chem Trail Nation. FEMA Concentration.

One gentleman this week asked me why I wasn’t selling the world’s most valuable commodity: food.

Another gentleman told me I needed to add a third precious metal to my website: lead.

One guy spent thirty minutes touting the importance of buying solar panels – NOW! Continue reading Apocalypse Now… Inflation. Deflation.

Annual inflation rate at 0%, consumer prices rise 0.3% in January

Diving energy prices drove U.S. consumer prices flat over the past 12 months, marking the lowest inflation rate in more than a half a century, the Labor Department reported Friday. However, energy costs have been ticking upward of late and pulled consumer prices back up in January.

"A bit of inflation is encouraging," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, was quoted on NYTimes.com. "It means businesses aren’t completely giving up and slashing prices. The fact that they can at least hold the line on their price cuts is a positive."

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most closely watched gauge for inflation, rose 0.3% in January following an adjusted 0.8% slide in December. The increase was in line with market expectations and the first positive advance in six months. Still, most economists believe prices will again decline.

"We’re in the heart of the recession right now, and with demand falling rapidly, we can expect downward pressure on prices," Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist in New York at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., was quoted on Bloomberg.com. "Everything is heading in the same direction, which is down. Sales are down, profits are down, prices are coming down."

More and more economists are now focusing on the dangers of continual, out of control falling prices, known as deflation. Even the Federal Reserve has discussed the risks. (See Long-term inflation target set… and Deflation a key risk in 2009…) Continue reading Annual inflation rate at 0%, consumer prices rise 0.3% in January

Inflation rates and figures updated for Feb. 2009

Consumer prices were flat over the past 12 months, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provided on Friday, Feb. 20. The annual inflation rate is hovering right at 0%, marking the lowest level since 1955.

The US Inflation Calculator is updated with the newest government information, as are the following pages:

Consumer Price Index Data from 1913 to 2009

Current Inflation Rates: 1999-2009

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2009

Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation

For an in depth look at January consumer prices, follow Annual inflation rate at 0%…