According to the BLS, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) year-over-year inflation rate was 2.4 % – up 0.2 % from last month. The year-over-year core inflation (excludes energy and food) rate was 2.1 %, and is now slightly above the target set by the Federal Reserve.

Analyst Opinion of the Consumer Price Index

Even though the prices for oil decreased this month, they were the main driver for iyear-over-year nflation. Core inflation is now above 2.0 % year-over-year.

The market expected (from Bloomberg / Econoday):

  Consensus Range Consensus Actual CPI-U – month-over-month (MoM) -0.1 % to 0.5 % +0.0 % -0.1 % CPI-U year-over-year (YoY) 2.2 % to 2.5 % +2.4 % +2.4 % CPI less food & energy (MoM) 0.1 % to 0.3 % +0.2 % +0.2 % CPI less food & energy (YoY) 1.9 % to 2.1 % +2.0 % +2.1 %

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As a generalization – inflation accelerates as the economy heats up, while inflation rate falling could be an indicator that the economy is cooling. However, inflation does not correlate well to the economy – and cannot be used as a economic indicator.

The major influence on the CPI was again energy prices.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.1 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.2 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.4 percent before seasonal adjustment. A decline in the gasoline index more than outweighed increases in the indexes for shelter, medical care, and food to result in the slight seasonally adjusted decline in the all items index. The energy index fell sharply due mainly to the 4.9-percent decrease in the gasoline index. The index for food rose 0.1 percent over the month, with the indexes for food at home and food away from home both increasing. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in March, the same increase as in February. Along with shelter and medical care, the indexes for personal care, motor vehicle insurance, and airline fares all rose. The indexes for apparel, for communication, and for used cars and trucks all declined over the month. The all items index rose 2.4 percent for the 12 months ending March, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending March 2017 and higher than the 1.6-percent average annual rate over the past 10 years. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 percent, its largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 2017. The energy index increased 7.0 percent over the past 12 months, and the food index advanced 1.3 percent.

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