Food Prices to Moderate Downward Inflation Trajectory


Both the main consumer price index and the core gauge, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2% from January, matching the median estimates of economists, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday.

The overall consumer price index rose 0.2% on the month and 2.2% from a year ago, matching expectations.

In a sustained improvement in economic conditions, retail inflation in February eased as food prices softened, while industrial production soared in January.

Excluding food and fuel prices, which can see big swings, the index also gained 0.2 per cent for the month, with noted gains in the prices for auto insurance, rent and apparel. The chart is based on autoregressive analysis of monthly Consumer Price Index data, which was obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The Fed is expected to hike rates three times this year, with quarter-point moves, as the economy looks headed for relatively strong growth and the jobless rate could sink to a multi-decade low. The selloff came on the back of strong USA wage numbers, which investors feared might feed into inflation and push the US central bank towards a faster pace of monetary tightening.

This was the fear at the end of January and upon Fed Chair Powell's first congressional hearing on February 27th where he was considered outspoken and hawkish.

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India's industrial output grew 7.5 percent in January from a year earlier, government data showed on Monday. Economists polled by Bloomberg News had expected an annual reading of 4.7 percent.

Though it will give comfort to the Centre that had been under pressure after demonetisation, implementation of Goods and Services Tax and the Punjab National Bank scam, experts expect the Reserve Bank of India to maintain a status quo on rates.

Note that in 2013, 2016 and 2017 a core rate of 0.3% was reported for January - without inflation increasing on a sustainable basis.

Footwear retail prices rose 1.5% in the month, with gains of 3 percent in women's and 1.8% in men's, and a falloff of 0.5% in boys' and girls'. That jump helped fuel inflation scares and contributed to a quick correction in the stock market that saw major indexes fall more than 10%. Registering a 25-month-high, the industrial growth had grown 8.8 per cent in November.

February's Consumer Price Index data is due out Tuesday at 7:30 am CT. Food price inflation was at 4.7% in January.

Gas prices and the cost of hospital services declined, but apparel prices and vehicle insurance rates spiked, which ticked the overall rate higher, Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic noted.