The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' report on the Consumer Price Index found the index rose 0.4 percent in January while core prices rose only 0.2 percent, providing little evidence of inflation. Energy prices rose 2.1 percent in the month and were once again the main cause of the greater headline inflation. By contrast, food prices have not seen high inflation. Food prices rose 0.5 percent in January, but over the last 12 months food prices have risen only 1.8 percent compared with a rise of 1.6 percent overall.
Among categories of core consumer prices, housing prices rose 0.1 percent in January as rent and owners’ equivalent rent remained stable at 0.2 and 0.1 percent respectively. Transportation prices rose 1.3 percent in the month—assuredly all due to higher fuel prices. The price of medical care rose 0.1 percent in January as hospital services fell 0.1 percent following last month’s 0.7 percent rise. Over the last six months, the price of medical care overall has remained at a relatively modest 3.0 percent rate of inflation.
There continues to be little indication of core consumer price inflation within the economy. Where core prices do appear to be growing, much of the price growth appears to be capturing energy prices.
For more, check out our latest Prices Byte.