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CPI Rises Less Than Expected But Year-Over-Year Numbers Remain Elevated

The CPI rose less than expected in three of four categories vs the Bloomberg econoday consensus. Year-over-year numbers remain problematic.
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CPI Month-Over-Month Percent Change 2021-08

This morning the BLS released its CPI Report for August. 

Month-Over-Month Details 

  • The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.5 percent in July.
  • The indexes for gasoline, household furnishings and operations, food, and shelter all rose in August and contributed to the monthly all items seasonally adjusted increase. 
  • The energy index increased 2.0 percent, mainly due to a 2.8-percent increase in the gasoline index. 
  • The index for food rose 0.4 percent, with the indexes for food at home and food away from home both increasing 0.4 percent. 
  • The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in August, its smallest increase since February 2021. 
  • The indexes for household operations and shelter, the indexes for new vehicles, recreation, and medical care also rose in August. 
  • The indexes for airline fares, used cars and trucks, and motor vehicle insurance all declined over the month. 

CPI Year-Over-Year Percent Change 

CPI Year-Over-Year Percent Change NSA 2021-08

Year-Over-Year Details 

  • The all items index rose 5.3 percent for the 12 months ending August, a smaller increase than the 5.4-percent rise for the period ending July. 
  • The index for all items less food and energy rose 4.0 percent over the last 12 months, also a smaller increase than the period ending July.
  • The energy index rose 25.0 percent over the last 12 months.
  • The food index increased 3.7 percent over the last 12 months.

Econoday Economist Expectations

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  • The consensus opinion was for the CPI to rise 0.4% month-over-month vs. the reported 0.3%
  • The consensus opinion was for the Core CPI to rise 0.3% month-over-month vs. the reported 0.1%
  • The consensus opinion was for the CPI to rise 5.3% year-over-year vs. the reported 5.3%
  • The consensus opinion was for the Core CPI to rise 4.2% year-over-year vs. the reported 4.0%

The Real CPI

The CPI factoring in housing and medical is much greater than the reported CPI. I will publish an alternate CPI that factors in housing when the next Case-Shiller home price data is released. 

My last report had year-over-year CPI at 8.57%. For discussion, please see Housing Adjusted Real Interest Rates Sink to a Record Low -8.5 Percent.

Stay tuned.

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