CPI benign? Not for many.

Consumer inflation in Oct rose .1% headline m/o/m and .2% core. The headline figure was in line with estimates but the core rate was .1 of a % higher. The y/o/y gain headline is 2.2%, the highest since April and is above the 1.6% avg hourly earnings gain seen in Oct and is a clear squeeze on many. The core rate was up 2% y/o/y. The .2% decline in energy prices was offset by a .2% gain in food. Owners Equivalent Rent, 24% of CPI, was higher by .2% m/o/m and 2.1% y/o/y and Rent of Primary Residence was up by .4%, the biggest m/o/m gain since Nov ’07. Apparel prices were higher by .7%. New and used vehicle prices were lower. Medical care costs were flat as were commodity prices. Bottom line, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI index went to another all time high and is up 2.2% y/o/y, a 6 month high. I continue to state the absolute index level in addition to the rate of change because many Americans are not seeing their highest income ever just as we’re seeing the highest cost of living ever. With consumer spending about 70% of growth, it obviously is important.

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