Core CPI Not As Worrisome As It Seems

By John S. McClenahen Although the U.S. Labor Department's overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% in June, right in line with economists' expectations, the so-called core CPI, which excludes price changes for food and fuel, was unchanged from May. That could revive concerns about deflation, a general lowering of prices across the U.S. economy. However, Maury Harris, chief U.S. economist at UBS Investment Research in New York discounts such deflationary prospects. On a year-to-year basis, "the core CPI shows some signs of stabilizing," he says. And since April it's run between 1.5% and 1.6%, he notes. What's more, the UBS Leading Inflation Index posted a sharp 0.7% increase in June, adds. That suggests the risks of inflation, not deflation, could be rising.

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