U.S. consumer inflation dips in March on low fuel prices

And the 12-month rate of core inflation jumped to 2.1% from 1.8%, the highest level in more than a year. On a month-on-month basis, the PPI fell 0.2 per cent versus 0.1 per cent decline in February, as the months-long smog war that led to supply constraints and an uptick in factory prices tapered off.

A key measure of USA inflation accelerated to the highest in a year as a drag from mobile-phone costs faded, bearing out the Federal Reserve's forecast for a pickup in price gains.

Consumer prices are expected to add 2.6% on year, slowing from 2.9% in February. Meanwhile, prices for buckwheat, eggs, sugar, milk and lard fell by 3.6%-0.2%.

The IMF said in a report earlier that it expected inflation to fall to 12 percent by June and to single digits by 2019.

March data for China's price rises were released this morning and came in below February's and below forecasts.

Core inflation, which excludes energy and unprocessed food products, climbed to 0.8 percent from 0.6 percent.

Capital Economics said in a note that "the data support our view. that the central bank will leave interest rates unchanged at Thursday's policy meeting". The annual core CPI also accelerated as the drag from last year's plunge in prices for cellphone services dropped out of the calculation.

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Treasury yields were staging a slight rally, with the 10-year yield hovering near 2.8% and the 2-year yield sitting near 2.28%. The durable goods component accounted for about three-fourths of the jobs added, according to the department.

The Fed tracks a different index, the personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE) excluding food and energy, which has consistently run below the central bank's 2 percent target since mid-2012.

"The numbers aren't yet alarming, but neither can we say with any confidence that (wholesale) inflation has peaked", said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Most officials have penciled in two or three more increases this year. Stocks on Wall Street fell as investors anxious about rising tensions between the United States and Russian Federation over a possible US military action against Syria.

Gains in raw material prices slowed to 5.1 per cent in March from 5.9 per cent the month before. Their inflation-adjusted hourly earnings rose 0.4% while the length of the number of hours per week they worked was unchanged.

The cost of other major household expenses such as rent and medical care rose more sharply, however, as did prices for plane flights and auto insurance. That was the biggest annual increase since February 2017.

Healthcare costs increased 0.4 per cent, with prices for hospital care shooting up 0.6 per cent and the cost of doctor visits rising 0.2 per cent. Apparel prices fell 0.6 per cent after two straight months of robust increases.

That's not to say everything was cheaper last month.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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