Friday, January 16, 2015

CPI Declines in December, Largest Decline Since 2008

The Consumer Price Index declined 0.4% in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, driven by the continued sharp fall in the gasoline index, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Over the last 12 months, the CPI has increased 0.8% before seasonal adjustment—notably lower than the 1.3% increase for the 12 months ending November.

While the indexes for natural gas and electricity both increased, the indexes for gasoline, fuel oil and energy all fell. The gasoline index declined 9.4% and the fuel oil index dropped 7.8% from the previous month. These declines lead the energy index to fall 4.7%, its largest one-month decline since December 2008. Over the past 12 months the energy index has declined 10.6%. It is likely that energy components will continue to weigh heavily on headline inflation for several months.

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in December—only the second time since 2010 that it did not increase—following a 0.1% increase in November. This index has risen 1.6% over the last 12 months—its smallest 12-month change since the 12 months ending February 2014. The shelter index continued to rise, and the index for medical care posted its largest increase since August 2013.

The food index rose 0.3% in December after a 0.2% increase in November and 3.4% over the last 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since February 2012. The food at home index rose 0.3% in December and has risen 3.7% over the last 12 months. The index for food away from home also rose 0.3% in December, and has risen 3.0% over the last year.

Read the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

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