2018 Economic Calendar
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CPI  
Released On 5/10/2018 8:30:00 AM For Apr, 2018
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
CPI - M/M change-0.1 %0.3 %0.1 % to 0.5 %0.2 %
CPI - Y/Y change2.4 %2.5 %2.4 % to 2.6 %2.5 %
CPI less food & energy- M/M change0.2 %0.2 %0.2 % to 0.3 %0.1 %
CPI less food & energy - Y/Y change2.1 %2.2 %2.0 % to 2.3 %2.1 %

Highlights
There may be new attention to inflationary overshooting but there's no indication of any building risk in the April consumer price report. Both the headline and the core missed expectations, rising 0.2 percent for the former and only 0.1 percent for the latter. Year-on-year rates also miss expectations, at 2.5 percent overall and a 1 tenth gain and no gain at all for the core at 2.1 percent.

Medical care shows special slowing, up 0.1 percent on the month for a yearly rate of 2.2 percent that doesn't raise any alarms about runaway costs. Communications slipped 0.2 percent and recreation is going into reverse with a 0.4 percent decline. And vehicle prices are weak, down 0.5 for new cars and light trucks and down 1.6 percent for used. Food has been soft, up 0.3 percent on the month but only 1.4 percent on the year, as has apparel, also up 0.3 percent on the month and up only 0.8 percent on the year.

On the plus side, gasoline nearly reversed March's steep fall with a 3.0 percent bounce higher and a 13.4 percent annual rate that's a reminder that, with oil now at $70, further pressure at the pump is possible. And housing, where home prices are climbing, is a serious threat, rising 0.3 percent in the month (owners' equivalent rent also up 0.3 percent) for a yearly rate of 3.0 percent.

It was the giant 3 tenth jump in the March core PCE year-on-year rate to 1.9 percent that triggered new emphasis from the Federal Reserve against the risk of rising inflation. But today's results don't point to any new threat, instead they reawaken concern, despite gasoline and housing, that inflation isn't up to speed.

Consensus Outlook
Forecasters are calling for modest-to-moderate pressures in the April consumer price report, at a headline monthly gain of 0.3 percent but a core rate gain of only 0.2 percent. Year-on-year rates are both expected to rise but only 1 tenth each, to 2.5 percent overall and 2.2 percent for the core.

Definition
The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the change in the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. Monthly changes in the CPI represent the rate of inflation for the consumer. Annual inflation is also closely watched.

The consumer price index is available nationally by expenditure category and by commodity and service group for all urban consumers (CPI-U) and wage earners (CPI-W). All urban consumers are a more inclusive group, representing about 87 percent of the population. The CPI-U is the more widely quoted of the two, although cost-of-living contracts for unions and Social Security benefits are usually tied to the CPI-W, because it has a longer history. Monthly variations between the two are slight.

The CPI is also available by size of city, by region of the country, for cross-classifications of regions and population-size classes, and for many metropolitan areas. The regional and city CPIs are often used in local contracts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces a chain-weighted index called the Chained CPI. This measures a variable basket of goods and services whereas the regular CPI-U and CPI-W measure a fixed basket of goods and services. The Chained CPI is similar to the personal consumption expenditure price index that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve Board.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
It is always a good idea to look at more than a few months of data to get a sense of changes in established trends. Monthly changes in the CPI are mainly volatile because of sharp fluctuations in food and energy prices. The core CPI eliminates the sharper fluctuations.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
[Chart]
Yearly changes tend to smooth out more severe monthly fluctuations and give a better idea of the underlying rate of inflation. Even with the smoother trend, note that the core CPI does not fluctuate as much as the total CPI.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/122/143/134/115/106/127/128/109/1310/1111/1412/12
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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