United States: Inflation accelerates for a sixth consecutive month
June 15, 2011
Price pressures continued to build in May, with consumer prices increasing a seasonally adjusted 0.2% over the previous month, which was half the 0.4% price hike observed in April, but overshot market expectations of a 0.1% increase. Moreover, as the reading contrasted the 0.1% price drop tallied in May last year, annual inflation accelerated for the sixth month in a row, reaching 3.6% in May (April: 3.2%), which represents the highest level since October 2008. The monthly hike was the result of higher prices for food as well as for apparel, which were only partly offset by lower prices for transportation, amid a 2.0% drop in gasoline prices over April. Consequently, the closely monitored core inflation index, which excludes food and energy, added 0.3% over the previous month, driving annual core inflation to 1.5% (April: 1.3% year-on-year). The Fed anticipates PCE inflation (based on the price index for personal consumption expenditures) to average between 2.1% and 2.8% in 2011 and between 1.2% and 2.0% in 2012.