Magazine article Economic Trends

November Price Statistics

Magazine article Economic Trends

November Price Statistics

Article excerpt

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12.21.06

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged in November following two months of substantial declines. Monthly growth in the core inflation measures showed a marked deceleration from longer-term trends in November. Like the CPI, the CPI excluding food and energy was also largely unchanged (rose at a 0.6 percent annualized rate) during the month. The 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI, which eliminates 8 percent of weighted components with both the largest and smallest monthly price changes, rose a modest 1.0 percent (annualized rate), while monthly growth in the median CPI has come down a bit to 3.0 percent (annualized rate).

Longer-term inflation trends were still relatively high in November yet appear to be decelerating some from their recent peaks. Both the 12-month growth rate in the CPI excluding food and energy, as well as the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI, are down over 1/4 percentage point since 2006Q2, yet remain elevated at rates between 2-1/2 and 2-3/4 percent. The longer-term trend of the median CPI, however, continued to accelerate during the month to its highest rate since mid-2002.

While the shorter-term trends in the retail price measures seem to suggest on the surface that inflation rates slowed during the month, the curious component price distribution makes it difficult to identify any underlying trend among retail prices. Indeed, a mere 10 percent of the CPI registered price increases in the 0 percent to 3 percent range--the range which most economists consider to be consistent with the current inflation trend. …

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