US CPI: Core inflation rebounds - Wells Fargo

Analysts from Wells Fargo, explained that the CPI index edged higher in December despite a fall in gasoline prices. They see inflation strengthening. 

Key Quotes: 

“Inflation cooled in December with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increasing 0.1 percent. That followed a 0.4 percent gain in November. The tamer increase stemmed from a pullback in energy costs as gasoline prices fell 2.7 percent over the month. That overshadowed a modest rise in energy services (electricity and utility gas). It was not until late in the month that unusually low temperatures led to a jump in natural gas prices. Although not quite halfway through the month, spot prices for natural gas are up about 6 percent from their December average. Therefore, we suspect energy services could provide an even larger lift to headline inflation next month.”

“Core inflation bounced back after a weaker-than-expected reading in November. Excluding food and energy, prices were up 0.3 percent. Core goods prices posted a rare increase and moved 0.2 percent higher. Leaner auto inventories after last year’s natural disasters spurred demand to replace vehicles and slower production growth more generally has given some support to prices.”

“Core inflation, which is up 1.8 percent on a year-ago basis, has risen at a 2.5 percent pace over the past three months. This should help to allay some FOMC members’ fears that inflation is stuck at undesirably low levels. We expect to see a noticeable pick up in the year-over-year change by this spring. Although that will stem in large part from base effects following weakness last year, the trend remains upward.”

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