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
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%…
Producer prices rose 0.8% in January, reversing a five-month trend due to increased costs in energy, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday.
The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures prices at the factory door and inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, topped forecasts that projected a climb from 0.3% and 0.4%. Many economists tend to think the price increases are temporary.
"It is doubtful that the price increases will be able to stick given the weakening economy and rising unemployment," said James O’Sullivan, a senior economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, who projected wholesale prices would rise 0.9 percent. While "inflation hasn’t collapsed yet, the big concern still is that inflation will fall too much," he said.
Some Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members — who set federal fund interest rates — agree. Continue reading Producer prices rise 0.8% in January, higher than expected
The annual rate of U.S. inflation plunged to 0.1% in 2008, with consumer prices driven down by falling energy prices. The cost of living dropped for Americans as prices dipped for the third straight month, and showed the slowest 12-month gain since 1954, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most closely watched gauge for inflation, fell by 0.7% in December after dropping 1.7% in November. Economists had expected the number to come in at 0.8%.
"Overall inflation has already declined significantly and appears likely to moderate further," Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a Jan. 13 speech in London that was reported on Bloomberg.com.
"At this point, with global economic activity weak and commodity prices at low levels, we see little risk of inflation in the near term."
Plummeting energy prices was the headliner again. The energy index fell 8.3% and led in the CPI’s decline by accounting for almost 90 percent of the decrease in the all items index. Continue reading 2008 inflation rate at 0.1%, slowest gain in 54 years for consumer prices
The US Inflation Calculator is updated with the newest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, January 16.
The annual rate of inflation in December crawled to just 0.1%, according to the government’s report. The declining trend began back in August when the rate was 5.4%. September followed with 4.9%, October at 3.7% and November at 1.1%.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined 0.7% in December from the prior month. November consumer prices fell a record 1.7%.
In addition to the Inflation Calculator tool using the latest figures for calculation, the following pages have been updated: Continue reading Inflation rates and CPI data updated for January 2009
Producer prices fell for the fifth consecutive month in December, as tumbling energy prices again led the decline, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday.
The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures prices at the factory door and inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, fell 1.9%.
The December drop was in line with many expectations, yet slightly lower for other economists who forecasted a fall matching November’s 2.2% decline. The index registered its biggest monthly decline ever in October by falling a record 2.8%.
"The recession will continue through most of the year, and in this environment, producer prices can only move downward," Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, was quoted at Bloomberg.
The energy index fell 9.3 percent in December after plummeting 11.2% in November and 12.8% in October, which set a 22-year record. Crude goods fell 5.3 percent compared to November’s 12.5% decline and October’s 18.6% drop. Continue reading Producer prices fall 1.9% in December, driven by lower energy costs
The Federal Reserve aggressively lowered its benchmark federal funds rate to a range of between zero percent and 0.25%, and said it would "employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth."
Slashing the overnight lending rate by such a degree was an unexpected Fed move. Most everyone had expected a 0.5% cut from its prior 1%. The rate is now at its lowest level since the government started keeping records in 1954.
"It’s a highly unorthodox and creative step," Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist, at the Bank of New York-Mellon in New York told Reuters. "We think it’s the best possible move for the U.S. consumer and for the financial market."
The announcement was made by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), who released the following statement: Continue reading Fed slashes rates to record low, zero to 0.25%
Inflation for consumer products plummeted again during November as prices were pushed down again by free-falling energy costs. Consumer prices declined by a record level for the second consecutive month, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The annual inflation rate is at 1.1% compared to the 3.7% increase in October.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the closely watched inflation barometer, fell in November by a seasonally adjusted 1.7% after October’s record 1.0% decline. Economists had expected a sharp drop between 1.3%-1.4%, which would have been a record itself. The latest figure marks the biggest decline since the government started keeping monthly data in 1947.
"This is scary stuff,” Mike Schenk, an economist for Credit Union National Association was quoted on MarketWatch. "We are teetering on the brink of a massive downward spiral. Deflation is a threat."
"I think we’re in a deflationary spiral that will probably go on until sometime next year," Thomas di Galoma, head of U.S. Treasury trading at Jefferies & Co. in New York was quoted at Reuters. "I think it will probably go on through the majority of 2009."
Falling prices is generally good news for consumers, but only to a certain point. Continue reading Consumer prices fall record 1.7%, inflation drops to 1.1%
US Inflation Calculator has been updated with the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures released Tuesday, December 16 for the entire month of November.
The latest government report has November’s annual rate of inflation down to 1.1%, which is an enormous decline when compared to October’s 3.7%, September’s 4.9% and a rate of 5.4% in August.
On a monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined 1.9 percent following October’s 1% decline. September was virtually unchanged while August dropped 0.1%.
The Inflation Calculator has been updated to use the latest figures for calculation, as have the following pages:
Consumer Price Index Data from 1913 to 2008
Current Inflation Rates: 1999-2008
Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2008
Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation
For an in depth look at November consumer price changes, read Consumer prices fall record 1.7%, inflation drops to 1.1%.
Producer prices fell sharply in November as energy prices plunged for the fourth consecutive month, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures prices at the factory door and inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, fell steeper than expected to 2.2%. Economists had pegged a predictive 2.0% rise. The index registered its biggest monthly decline ever in October, falling a record 2.8%.
Plummeting energy prices again led the way in dragging prices down. The energy index fell 11.2% after a 12.8% drop in the previous month which set a 22-year record. Crude goods declined 12.5% following a 18.6% drop in October.
The consecutive declines further highlights free-falling crude-oil prices, which closed Thursday in New York at $47.98 a barrel — a far distance from its record highs near $147 per barrel in July when inflation peaked.
Continue reading Producer prices drop 2.2% in November