U.S. Consumer Prices Rise For First Time Since October U.S. consumer prices climbed for the first time in four months in February, potentially reassuring the Federal Reserve that the economic recovery is on track as it considers raising interest rates.
The consumer-price index, reflecting what Americans pay for everything from groceries to housing, rose 0.2% in February from the prior month, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That marked the first increase since October and the biggest rise since June.
Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, also rose 0.2% last month after increasing at the same pace in January. (…)
The climb in core prices was driven largely by higher housing costs. Shelter expenses—reflecting the cost of housing, including rent—climbed 0.2%, accounting for about two-thirds of the overall rise in core prices.
Prices for medical-care commodities increased 0.7% due largely to rising prices for prescription drugs. But prices for medical-care services dropped for the first time since 1975.
U.S. Existing-Home Sales Up 1.2% Sales of previously owned homes ticked up last month, but buyers are facing a dynamic of rising home prices and shrinking inventory that make homes less affordable.
Existing-home sales increased 1.2% last month from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Sales in February were up 4.7% from the same month a year earlier.
Total housing inventory at the end of February increased 1.6% from a month earlier, to 1.89 million existing homes available for sale. But the increase was small compared with the typical rise in inventory from January to February, which has averaged about 5.6% since 2000, Mr. Yun said. (Chart from Haver Analytics)
New Signs of China Slowdown China’s economy is showing new signs of flagging, as an early indicator of factory activity this month fell to an 11-month low.
A separate proxy measure of growth by Capital Economics—mixing electricity production, transport usage, and the like—is at its lowest since the 2003 SARS crisis. The proxy indicates growth on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter will dip below the government’s full-year target of 7%.
Some more signs:
The March NMI (75% Mfg; 25% Services) Survey also was no good. January-February electricity consumption rose 2.6% YoY vs +4.2% in December and +3.3% in November. The PBoC survey of urban households showed continued decline in buying intentions for housing.
Travelling day for me, hence this short post.