Consumer prices in the United States increased 2.4 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, lower than 2.7 percent in February and below market expectations of 2.6 percent. It is the lowest inflation rate in three months due to a slowdown in energy and services cost. On a monthly basis, consumer prices went down 0.3 percent, the first drop in 13 months.
Year-on-year, energy prices rose 10.9 percent, lower than 15.2 percent in February. In addition, prices of services less energy rose less (2.9 percent from 3.1 percent) and cost of used cars and trucks fell more (-4.7 percent from -4.3 percent). In contrast, inflation rose for transportation services (3.8 percent from 3.6 percent in February) and food (0.5 percent from a flat reading) and was steady for shelter (3.5 percent) and medical care (3.4 percent).
Annual core inflation, which excludes food and energy eased to 2 percent from 2.2 percent in the previous month. It is the lowest core inflation since November of 2015 and below market expectations of 2.3 percent.
On a monthly basis, the energy index declined 3.2 percent, with the gasoline index falling 6.2 percent, and other major energy component indexes decreasing as well. In addition, a drop in the index for wireless telephone services also had a downward pressure. The food index rose 0.3 percent, with the index for food at home increasing 0.5 percent, its largest gain since May 2014.
Excluding food and energy, consumer prices fell 0.1 percent, its first decline since January of 2010. The shelter index rose 0.1 percent, and the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, medical care, tobacco, airline fares, and alcoholic beverages also increased in March. These increases were more than offset by declines in several indexes, including those for wireless telephone services, used cars and trucks, new vehicles, and apparel.
4/14/2017 12:52:05 PM