Prices rose in December, federal data shows

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Newly released federal inflation data shows prices rose in December.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its Producer Consumption Expenditure, a key marker of inflation, which showed a 0.2% increase last month. That is an increase of 2.9% in the last year.

“Prices for goods decreased 0.2 percent and prices for services increased 0.3 percent. Food prices increased 0.1 percent and energy prices increased 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.2 percent.”

The PCE is one of several economic indicators showing that prices continue to rise and show little signs of returning to the pre-COVID levels. Prices have risen about 17% since President Joe Biden took office.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, another leading marker of inflation.

The CPI, which considers the prices for a wide range of goods and services rose more than expected in December.

According to BLS, the CPI rose 0.3% in December, which is a break from the recent months of very low inflation. Overall, prices rose 3.4% in the last 12 months according to the BLS data.

While the new inflation rates could be lower, they are much closer to the target inflation range than the spike in inflation earlier in the Biden administration.

“Although inflationary pressures continue to normalize with ‘core’ numbers inching ever closer to the Fed’s 2% target, the Fed will continue to monitor the effect of stronger consumer spending coupled with the promise of fiscal stimulus on igniting a bout of inflation,” Quincy Krosby, Chief Global Strategist for LPL Financial in Charlotte, N.C., said in a statement. “Still, expectations remain that the Fed will be discussing ‘when’ – not ‘if – to initiate its rate cut cycle at its upcoming meeting.

“Unless next month’s collection of inflation-related data underscores decisively that the path towards to 2% is squarely in sight, the Fed will most likely wait until May or June to begin easing rates,” Krosby added.

The data also showed an increase in Americans’ income.

“Personal income increased $60.0 billion (0.3 percent at a monthly rate) in December, according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis…” BEA said. “Disposable personal income (DPI), personal income less personal current taxes, increased $51.8 billion (0.3%).”

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