While a 5% increase in the Consumer Price Index grabbed headlines on Thursday, a third of it was driven by higher prices for used cars and trucks, which jumped 29.7% from a year ago. And the gas index was up 56.2%.
Why it matters: Underneath the hood of the CPI numbers, it’s clear that not all items moved in tandem.
- Cosmetics, perfume, bath, nail preparations and implements were down 0.7%.
- While beer, ale and other malt beverages increased 2.4% when consumed away from home, those same items enjoyed at home were up only 0.4%.
- Similarly, the cost of wine sipped away from home increased 1.8%; at home, it was up 1.2%
- Whiskey is only measured at home (three fingers is best!), where it was up 3.7% from last year.
Between the lines: Inflation — and crucially, inflation expectations — has a psychological component, both for consumers and investors.
- If consumers expect prices to keep going up, they’ll try to purchase now, which, in turn, will push prices even higher.
- Investors and financial markets aren’t worried — yet. The markets largely shrugged off Thursday’s report, even though the headline number was higher than expected.
Be smart: Some economists are putting more of a premium on next month’s data, when the so-called “base effect” will be less pronounced.
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Hans Nichols