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Economic News

US Inflation Moderates in November: CPI Rises 0.1%

Inflation in the United States continued to show signs of moderation in November, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rising by 0.1% from the previous month, slightly exceeding expectations. The Labor Department’s report highlighted a 3.1% increase in prices from the same period last year, in line with Refinitiv economists’ estimates and a slight decrease from October’s 3.2%.

Key Highlights:

  1. Moderation in Core Prices: Core prices, excluding the volatile measurements of food and energy, experienced a 0.3% increase, contributing to a 4% annual rise. These figures align with expectations and indicate a cooling of price pressures within the economy.
  2. Inflation Still Above Target: Despite the decline from a peak of 9.1%, inflation remains above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. The report suggests that while inflation is moderating, a swift return to the 2% target is unlikely in the near term.
  3. Impact on Households: High inflation has created financial pressures for U.S. households, especially impacting low-income Americans who bear a disproportionate burden. The reduction in inflation offers some relief but continues to affect everyday necessities.
  4. Gasoline and Airline Ticket Costs: Consumers experienced relief in November as the price of gasoline dropped by 6%, and airline ticket costs decreased by 0.4%. Gasoline prices are down 8.9% from the previous year, contributing to a decrease in transportation costs.
  5. Persistent Shelter and Food Costs: Shelter costs, the largest contributor to core inflation, increased by 0.4% on a monthly basis, reflecting a 6.5% rise over the past year. Food prices, a tangible reminder of inflation for many, remained uncomfortably high, with grocery costs up by 1.7% from the same period last year.
  6. Federal Reserve’s Response: The Federal Reserve has closely monitored inflation trends and implemented a series of interest rate hikes to cool the economy. The latest data has reinforced expectations that the Fed might conclude interest rate hikes, with a nearly 100% chance of steady rates at the year’s final meeting.
  7. Market Expectations: Despite the anticipation of a pause in rate hikes, the slight pickup in the monthly increase could impact market expectations, potentially delaying expectations for early-2024 rate cuts.
  8. Investor Caution: Investors are cautioned against counting on early rate cuts in 2024, as the Fed weighs the risk of cutting rates too soon against the risk of keeping them elevated for a longer period.

The report reflects an ongoing effort by policymakers to balance economic growth and inflationary pressures, with the Federal Reserve playing a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of interest rates in response to evolving economic conditions.

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