Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

January IIP, February retail inflation plunge sharply

January IIP, February retail inflation plunge sharply

As per an official statement Consumer inflation for January was revised downwards to 1.97 per cent, also its lowest level in 19 months, from 2.05 per cent. This should make the FOMC comfortable with its recent decision to be patient on monetary policy, and await clearer signs on how slower global growth and weaker confidence shows up in domestic data in the months ahead. Economists had predicted consumer price index at 2.43 per cent for February, according to a poll by Reuters.

The central bank signaled in January that it was moving to the sidelines after raising its short-term benchmark rate four times a year ago, most recently in December to a range between 2.25% and 2.50%. Core inflation, has been at or above 2% for a year now.

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its consumer price index (CPI) as being up 0.2% on the headline CPI reading and up just 0.1% excluding food and energy reading. The upward movement was driven primarily by a sequential rise seen in various food groups, except in vegetables. Gas prices for U.S. drivers were $2.31 a gallon on average in February, up from $2.25 in January, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Prices of milk-based products rose marginally by 0.92 per cent, while egg became dearer by 0.86 per cent, and meat and fish prices recorded a rise of 5.92 per cent. That index tends to run slightly below the Labor Department's CPI, and January figures are due March 29.

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Shelter costs, which account for about a third of CPI and mainly include housing expenses, continued to hold up, with the fourth straight monthly increase of 0.3 per cent. Owners-equivalent rent, one of the categories created to track rental prices, rose 0.3 per cent, as did rent of primary residence.

The IIP number saw a steep fall from the 7.5 per cent growth recorded in January 2018. Food costs gained 0.4 percent, the biggest increase since 2014.

Healthcare costs fell 0.2 per cent after five straight monthly increases. Inflation expectations held by the public one year and three years from now fell, both to readings of 2.8% from 3% in January, the bank said Monday. Annual wage growth jumped 3.4 percent in February, the biggest increase since April 2009, from 3.1 percent in January.

This article is for general information purposes only.

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