WASHINGTON — The June consumer price index was up 0.5%, its worst showing since February. Core CPI was spot-on estimates at a 0.2% gain and a little better at up 0.16119% unrounded.
These produced a 1.8% rise overall and a 1.6% core increase over-the-year paces, results that still could be termed modest.
Energy posted 3.4% higher as gas was up 6.3% (accounted for 2/3 of the headline CPI hike; but the number was up 0.6% before adjustment so this was a "faulty seasonal"). Electric at a 0.2% increase completed the rising energy components.
Food posted a 0.2% rise as prices of cereals, meats, and eggs jumped.
In core, medical care gained 0.4% after being flat in May and down 0.1% in April; drugs posted up 0.5% (a 0.2% increase before adjustment), apparel rose 0.9% as all areas gained except infants, and new vehicles increased 0.3% (0.1% before adjustment).
More than half the important categories appear to have had these severe seasonals, perhaps an artifact to account for prior patterns of price discounting at the end of the model year for autos and clothing. More recently, erratic weather patterns and huge demand for vehicles are preventing this discounting.
The category of Owners' Equivalent Rent posted a 0.2% gain, about trend.
A bottom line is unfortunate seasonals boosted the total June CPI gain. Underlying inflation remains tame. The overall CPI remains in a seesaw, reflecting energy pricing, but the core CPI remains on a moderate down-trend from plus-2% or better at this time last year.
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