2011 Economic Calendar
POWERED BY  econoday logo
Event Definitions   |   Today's Calendar   |   

Consumer Price Index  
Released On 8/18/2011 8:30:00 AM For Jul, 2011
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
CPI - M/M change-0.2 %0.2 %-0.2 % to 0.5 %0.5 %
CPI - Y/Y change3.4 %3.6 %
CPI less food & energy- M/M change0.3 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.2 %0.2 %
CPI less food & energy - Y/Y change1.6 %1.8 %
CPI - level224.304 index level
Core CPI - level224.958 index level

Highlights
Consumer price inflation surged in July on stronger gasoline and food costs. The consumer price index in July jumped 0.5 percent. The June number topped the median estimate for a 0.2 percent increase. Excluding food and energy, the CPI increased 0.2 percent after a 0.3 percent jump the prior month.

Turning to major components, energy rebounded 2.8 percent after dropping 4.4 percent the month before. Gasoline jumped 4.7 percent, following a 6.8 percent plunge in June. Food price inflation accelerated, jumping 0.4 percent, following a 0.2 percent rise in June. Within the core the shelter index accelerated in July (largely lodging, up 0.9 percent), and the apparel index again increased sharply ( up 1.2 percent). In contrast, the index for new vehicles was unchanged after a long string of increases.

Year-on-year, overall CPI inflation worsened to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent (seasonally adjusted) in June. The core rate rose to 1.8 percent from 1.6 percent on a year-ago basis. On an unadjusted year-ago basis, the headline number was up 3.6 percent in July while the core was up 1.8 percent.

Despite a sluggish economy, inflation is back but most of the acceleration is supply related, notably for food. And energy rebounded only partially from the prior month. The lodging subcomponent, however, probably is seeing some improved demand which is actually a good thing. Inflation is up but not much is related to a surge in demand.

Consensus Outlook
The consumer price index in June dipped 0.2 percent, following a 0.2 percent increase the month before. With lower energy costs pulling down the CPI, this was the first negative number in 12 months. Excluding food and energy, the CPI rose 0.3 percent, equaling the May rate.
Turning to major components, energy dropped 4.4 percent, following a 1.0 percent decline. Gasoline fell 6.8 percent after decreasing 2.0 percent in May. Food price inflation slowed with a 0.2 percent gain after a 0.4 percent surge the month before. Within the core new vehicles increased 0.6 percent, used cars and trucks jumped 1.6 percent, and apparel increased 1.4 percent in June. And owners' equivalent rent is no longer as soft as in recent months, rising 0.2 percent.

Definition
The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the change in the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. Monthly changes in the CPI represent the rate of inflation for the consumer. Annual inflation is also closely watched.

The consumer price index is available nationally by expenditure category and by commodity and service group for all urban consumers (CPI-U) and wage earners (CPI-W). All urban consumers are a more inclusive group, representing about 87 percent of the population. The CPI-U is the more widely quoted of the two, although cost-of-living contracts for unions and Social Security benefits are usually tied to the CPI-W, because it has a longer history. Monthly variations between the two are slight.

The CPI is also available by size of city, by region of the country, for cross-classifications of regions and population-size classes, and for many metropolitan areas. The regional and city CPIs are often used in local contracts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces a chain-weighted index called the Chained CPI. This measures a variable basket of goods and services whereas the regular CPI-U and CPI-W measure a fixed basket of goods and services. The Chained CPI is similar to the personal consumption expenditure price index that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve Board.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
It is always a good idea to look at more than a few months of data to get a sense of changes in established trends. Monthly changes in the CPI are mainly volatile because of sharp fluctuations in food and energy prices. The core CPI eliminates the sharper fluctuations.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
[Chart]
Yearly changes tend to smooth out more severe monthly fluctuations and give a better idea of the underlying rate of inflation. Even with the smoother trend, note that the core CPI does not fluctuate as much as the total CPI.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2011 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/142/173/174/155/136/157/158/189/1510/1911/1612/16
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


powered by  [Econoday]