Core Inflation Prices Barely Budged in August
While inflation rose 3.5% year-to-year in Aug. – still above the Fed’s 2% goal – it was only up 0.1% month-to-month after backing out higher gas prices.
Core inflation slows
But excluding the volatile food and gas categories, “core” inflation rose by the smallest amount in almost two years in August, evidence that it’s continuing to cool. Fed officials pay particular attention to core prices, which are considered a better gauge of where inflation might be headed.
Core prices rose just 0.1% from July to August, down from July’s 0.2%. It was the smallest monthly increase since November 2021.
Compared with a year ago, core prices were up 3.9%, below July’s reading of 4.2%. That, too, was the slowest such increase in two years.
In the meantime, while Americans kept spending in August, they did so at a much more modest pace. Friday’s government report showed that consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, ticked up just 0.1% after having risen 0.6% in July.
“Overall, spending remains positive and inflation is slowing, which will be welcome news to policymakers,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note to clients.
The latest data will likely bolster hopes among Fed officials that they will be able to bring inflation back to their target without driving up unemployment or causing a deep recession as many economists have feared. When the Fed released its quarterly economic forecasts last week, it showed that the central bank’s policymakers envision only a small rise in unemployment by the end of 2024: They expect joblessness to rise from its current 3.8% to a still-low 4.1%, along with a gradual drop in core inflation to just 2.6%.
Still, threats to a so-called “soft landing” – in which inflation would fall back to the Fed’s 2% target without a deep recession – have been growing. Congress is on track to shut down parts of the government by this weekend because a group of hard-right House Republicans have blocked a spending agreement.
And in October, millions of people will have to restart student loan payments, reducing their ability to spend on other items. At the same time, long-term interest rates keep rising, which will likely further swell the cost of mortgages, auto loans and business borrowing. The interest rate on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark rate for mortgages, has reached nearly 4.6%, close to its highest level in 16 years.
On Thursday, Austan Goolsbee, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, expressed optimism that what he called the “golden path” – lower inflation without a recession – was still possible.
“The Fed,” Goolsbee said, “has the chance to achieve something quite rare in the history of central banks – to defeat inflation without tanking the economy. If we succeed, the golden path will be studied for years. If we fail, it will also be studied for years. But let’s aim to succeed.” (FloridaRealtors)
And read these recent articles:
Credit Score Change Could Help Millions of Buyers
August Sales still mostly over List Price
2023 Sales Continue Strongly over List Price
No signs of improvement in September Housing Inventory
Economic and mortgage commentary
Two signs Inflation is Slowing
What drives Mortgage rates in one chart
How Marblehead’s 2023 Property Tax Rate is Calculated
Essex County 2023 Property Tax Rates: Town by Town guide
Why Mortgage Rates Will Fall
Bidding Wars return to North Shore
Q1 2023 Market Stats
Marblehead 2022 Housing Market Review
Swampscott 2022 Housing Market Review
Beverly 2022 Housing Market Review
Salem 2022 Housing Market Review
Essex County 2022 Housing Market Review
July Inventory shows Sharp Drop
Essex County Town by Town Guide: 2022 Median Prices and Sales; 2023 Tax Rates
If you – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, please contact me on 617.834.8205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Oliver, M.B.E.,M.B.A.
Market Analyst | Team Harborside | teamharborside.com
“If you’re interested in Marblehead, you have to visit the blog of Mr. Andrew Oliver, author and curator of OliverReportsMA.com. He’s assembled the most comprehensive analysis of Essex County we know of with market data and trends going back decades. It’s a great starting point for those looking in the towns of Marblehead, Salem, Beverly, Lynn and Swampscott.”
Andrew Oliver, M.B.E., M.B.A.
Real Estate Advisor
800 Laurel Oak Drive, Suite 400, Naples, FL 34108