US Inflation Rate Drops to 1.6%

Annual inflation rate in the United States slowed for the third straight month to 1.6 percent in January of 2019 from 1.9 percent in December. It is the lowest rate since June of 2017, compared to market expectations of 1.5 percent, mainly due to a sharp fall in energy prices, namely gasoline.

Year-on-year, prices fell for gasoline (-10.1 pecent compared to -2.1 percent in December); fuel oil (-8.1 percent compared to 1.9 percent); and medical care commodities (-0.3 percent compared to -0.5 percent); and were unchanged for new vehicles (0 percent compared to -0.3 percent). Also, inflation slowed for transportation services (2 percent compared to 2.8 percent); medical care services (2.4 percent compared to 2.6 percent); and was flat for food (1.6 percent); and shelter (3.2 percent). On the other hand, prices rebounded for apparel (0.1 percent compared to -0.1 percent) and went up faster for used cars and trucks (1.6 percent compared to 1.4 percent); electricity (1.3 percent compared to 1.1 percent); and utility piped gas service (4.3 percent compared to 2.3 percent). 

Excluding food and energy, consumer prices increased 2.2 percent over a year earlier, the same as in December and slightly above forecasts of 2.1 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were flat for the third straight month, compared to forecasts of a 0.1 percent rise. The energy index declined for the third consecutive month, offsetting increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy and for food. All the major energy component indexes declined in January, with the gasoline index falling 5.5 percent. The food index increased 0.2 percent, with the index for food at home rising 0.1 percent and the food away from home index increasing 0.3 percent. 

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in January for the fourth consecutive month, matching forecasts. The indexes for shelter, apparel, medical care, recreation, and household furnishings and operations were among the indexes that rose in January, while the indexes for airline fares and for motor vehicle insurance declined.   

US Inflation Rate Drops to 1.6%

BLS | Joana Taborda |
2/13/2019 1:54:12 PM