Small Gains In US Consumer Price Index Slow Underlying Inflation is Weak

The United States Consumer Price Index rose a little in December, even as households scrambled to pay more for health care and underlying inflation slowed down a bit.  Economists are saying this shift more concretely supports the Federal Reserve’s desire to hold interest rates at their current place, at least for the rest of the year. 

Effectively, this weak Labor Department inflation report came, Tuesday, as last week’s data showed only moderate job growth during last month.  Economists further explain how these developments indicate the coming of a sharp decline in domestic demand.  Even as the economy appears to have maintained stable growth markers through Q4, analysts now advise this could sustain at a time when imports are slowing too. 

All of this contributes to mounting fear that perhaps economic demand in the United States (and, probably, globally) could signal further weakening growth that will continue through, at least, the first quarter of this year.  With the US government in a bit of confusion, this year, the Federal Reserve remains very much on the sidelines.  The hope, then, is that economic demand continues to weaken, keeping inflation at bay. 

This in mind, the United States Department of Labor said the consumer price index increased 0.2 percent last, adding to the 0.3 percent climb recorded in November. The monthly CPI increase has been retarding since an initial 0.4 percent jump in October.  Still, the CPI is up 2.3 percent, year-over-year through December. That was the biggest such increase since October of 2018, with another year-over-year gain of 2.1 percent in November. 

CPI in the US accelerated 2.3 percent for the year 2019, which is the biggest rise since 2011.  The CPI grew 1.9 percent the year before.  Specifically, United States CPI hitched up 0.1 percent in December after a similar 0.2 percent climb in November; excluding the volatile measures of food and energy, of course.  In all, then, core CPI was up 0.1133 percent in December, which is essentially half of the 0.2298 percent registered in November.