United States: Inflation continues to moderate
December 16, 2011
In November, consumer prices remained flat over the previous month in seasonally adjusted terms, which came in a notch above the 0.1% price drop tallied in October but undershot market expectations that had prices rising 0.1%. The reading reflected lower energy prices (-1.6% month-on-month), which offset higher prices in most other categories, in particular clothing (+0.6% mom). Annual headline inflation moderated for the second month in a row, falling from 3.5% in October to 3.4% in November, thus marking the lowest rate since April. Meanwhile, the closely monitored core inflation index, which excludes food and energy, added 0.2% over the previous month, driving annual core inflation up a notch to 2.2%. Annual average inflation over the previous 12 months was 3.0%. In its latest forecast from November, the Federal Reserve expects PCE inflation (based on the price index for personal consumption expenditures) to average between 2.7% and 2.9% this year and between 1.4% and 2.0% in 2012.