2018 Economic Calendar
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Released On 6/12/2018 8:30:00 AM For May, 2018
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
CPI - M/M change0.2 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.5 %0.2 %
CPI - Y/Y change2.5 %2.8 %2.3 % to 2.8 %2.8 %
CPI less food & energy- M/M change0.1 %0.2 %0.2 % to 0.3 %0.2 %
CPI less food & energy - Y/Y change2.1 %2.2 %1.9 % to 2.3 %2.2 %

Consumer prices are moving incrementally higher in results for May that hit Econoday's consensus across all four readings: up a monthly 0.2 percent both overall and for the core with year-on-year rates up 3 tenths overall to 2.8 percent and the core up 1 tenth to 2.2 percent.

Gasoline jumped 1.7 percent in the month outside of which most other readings are modest-to-moderate. Rent rose 0.3 percent in the month as did owners' equivalent rent while medical care, outside of a spike for related commodities and hospital services, remains largely flat. New vehicle prices, up 0.3 percent, are showing some pressure with car insurance showing continuing pressure at a 0.4 percent gain. But there are plenty of soft spots including a 1.9 percent decline for airfares, no change for apparel, and a 0.9 percent drop in used car prices.

Though the 2.2 percent yearly rate for the core is moderate, it is the highest rate since February last year. What counts most here is the upward trajectory which points to a continued climb to 2 percent for core PCE prices which, at 1.8 percent in both April and March, are on a convincing approach to the Federal Reserve's 2 percent goal. Today's data, though moderate, will confirm expectations for a rate hike at this week's FOMC.

Consensus Outlook
Forecasters are calling for no more than modest pressure in the consumer price report for May, at monthly gains of 0.2 percent overall and with the core rate also seen up only 0.2 percent. Year-on-year rates are expected to be mixed with the overall up 3 tenths to 2.8 percent but the core up only 1 tenth at 2.2 percent.

The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the change in the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. Monthly changes in the CPI represent the rate of inflation for the consumer. Annual inflation is also closely watched.

The consumer price index is available nationally by expenditure category and by commodity and service group for all urban consumers (CPI-U) and wage earners (CPI-W). All urban consumers are a more inclusive group, representing about 87 percent of the population. The CPI-U is the more widely quoted of the two, although cost-of-living contracts for unions and Social Security benefits are usually tied to the CPI-W, because it has a longer history. Monthly variations between the two are slight.

The CPI is also available by size of city, by region of the country, for cross-classifications of regions and population-size classes, and for many metropolitan areas. The regional and city CPIs are often used in local contracts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces a chain-weighted index called the Chained CPI. This measures a variable basket of goods and services whereas the regular CPI-U and CPI-W measure a fixed basket of goods and services. The Chained CPI is similar to the personal consumption expenditure price index that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve Board.  Why Investors Care
It is always a good idea to look at more than a few months of data to get a sense of changes in established trends. Monthly changes in the CPI are mainly volatile because of sharp fluctuations in food and energy prices. The core CPI eliminates the sharper fluctuations.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
Yearly changes tend to smooth out more severe monthly fluctuations and give a better idea of the underlying rate of inflation. Even with the smoother trend, note that the core CPI does not fluctuate as much as the total CPI.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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