United States: Annual consumer prices unchanged in May after declining in previous months
June 18, 2015
In May, consumer prices increased 0.4% over the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, which was above April’s 0.1% rise. The print was just below market expectations of a 0.5% increase but marked the fastest increase in more than two years. May’s result was driven by a steep jump in energy prices, including gasoline, suggesting that the downward trend in energy prices might have come to an end. Crude oil prices, which determine energy prices, dropped from highs above USD 100 per barrel last summer to below the USD 50 per barrel mark earlier this year, but have since stabilized around USD 60 per barrel.
Annual consumer prices registered no change in May, which was up from the 0.2% decrease seen in April, and marked the first non-negative reading in three months. However, core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, increased just 0.1% in May after having increased 0.3% in April. The figure was just below market expectations of a 0.2% increase. Annual average core inflation in April held at 1.8% for the fifth straight month.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist