Retail inflation eases to 4.4% in February; IIP grows 7.5% in January
Retail inflation eases to 4.4% in February; IIP grows 7.5% in January
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14 March, 2018, 07:03
U.S. consumer inflation rose more slowly in February, cooling from January's sudden jump, with steady gains in clothing prices and rent, the government reported Tuesday.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in February, and it rose 1.8 percent over the past 12 months, the same figure as the prior two months.
Food inflation, as measured by Consumer Food Price Index, rose to 4.96 per cent in December from 4.35 per cent the previous month.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the CPI was up 0.2% for the month and 1.8% annualized, unchanged from a month ago. The uptick in core prices also matched expectations.
Meanwhile, the Index of Industrial Production rose 7.5 per cent in January, led by robust expansion in the manufacturing sector. "While the prices of vegetables such as onions and tomatoes are continuing to correct, many other food items have recorded a sequential increase in prices so far in March 2018".
"The broader story remains that of USA monetary policy normalization in the backdrop of an improving economy and a further decline in currency market volatility would only fuel more risk taking appetite", said Commerzbank's FX strategist Thu Lan Nguyen.
US consumer prices continued to firm in February, indicating inflation is creeping up toward the Federal Reserve's target without the kind of breakout that would warrant a faster pace of interest-rate hikes.
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The main contributor the CPI increase in February was the shelter, apparel, and motor vehicle insurance indexes that added to the one-month seasonally adjusted basis.
Industrial production grow at a high rate of 7.5 per cent in January 2018 against 3.5 per cent in the year-ago month on the back of firm manufacturing sector coupled with higher offtake of consumer and capital goods. We expect core inflation to ease further in February, given improvement in FX liquidity; external reserves grew by 4.44% month-on-month, from USD40.69bn to USD42.49bn.
Inflation fears have intensified this year after a report last month suggested wages were rising more quickly, which can push up prices. The central bank expects inflation to reach 5.1-5.6 percent in the first half of the financial year starting April 1, before easing in the second half. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 2.844 percent, down from 2.870 percent at last close.
In terms of industries, 16 out of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed positive growth in January.
X The soft inflation reading could slightly lower odds of a fourth Fed interest-rate hike in 2018.
A survey of small businesses published on Tuesday showed the share of owners reporting higher selling prices in February hit its highest level since July 2014.
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