Gasoline Pushes Consumer Prices Higher in June

According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) press release, consumer prices increased in June 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis. Over the past twelve months, prices on expenditures made by urban consumers increased 2.1% before seasonal adjustments.

The month-over-month increase in the all items index was driven by a large 3.3% increase in the gasoline index. The gasoline index, a component of the energy price index, increased for the third month. Over the past twelve months, the energy price index increased 3.2% before seasonal adjustments.

The increase in food prices slowed in June as the food price index rose just 0.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The month-over-month increase in the food price index was 0.5% in May. Over the past twelve months the food index increased 2.3% before seasonal adjustments.

The Core CPI, which excludes more volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.1% month-over-month. Over the past twelve months Core CPI increased 1.9%.

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The shelter index rose 0.2% month-over-month in June after increasing 0.3% month-over-month in May.  Over the past twelve months, the shelter index increased 2.8% before seasonal adjustments.

Because shelter costs represent a large share of the average consumer’s expenditure’s, a 0.2% month-over-month increase is worth exploring further. Although the increase in the shelter index partly reflects increases in rental prices, the BLS measure does not isolate the change in rental prices from the changes in the overall price index. NAHB constructs a real rent price index to isolate the change in rental prices. The NAHB constructed measure indicates whether inflation in rents is faster or slower than general inflation and provides some insight into the supply and demand conditions for rental housing, after controlling for overall inflation. The real rent index increased in June 0.2% month-over-month and 1.2% over the past year.

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