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Consumer Prices Up Less Than Expected, Retail Sales Flat

iHub News
Latest News
May 15 2024 9:08AM

A highly anticipated report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday showed consumer prices in the U.S. rose by slightly less than expected in the month of April.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index increased by 0.3 percent in April after rising by 0.4 percent in March. Economists had expected consumer prices to climb by another 0.4 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still rose by 0.3 percent in April after climbing by 0.4 percent in March. The increase in core prices matched economist estimates.

The report also said the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 3.4 percent in April from 3.5 percent in March, in line with expectations.

The annual rate of core consumer price growth decelerated to 3.6 percent in April from 3.8 percent in March. The slowdown also matched estimates.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a separate report showing retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly came in flat in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said retail sales were virtually unchanged in April after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.6 percent in March.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.7 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales edged up by 0.2 percent in April after jumping by 0.9 percent in March. The uptick matched economist estimates.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York also released a report showing regional manufacturing activity unexpectedly contracted at a slightly faster rate in the month of May.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index edged down to a negative 15.6 in May from a negative 14.3 in April, with a negative reading indicating contraction. Economists had expected the index to rise to a negative 10.0.

Looking ahead, the New York Fed said optimism about the outlook remained subdued, although firms still expect conditions to improve over the next six months.

At 10 am ET, the National Association of Home Builders is due to release its report on homebuilder confidence in the month of May. The housing market index is expected to come in unchanged at 51.

The Commerce Department is also scheduled to release its report on business inventories in the month of March at 10 a ET. Business inventories are expected to edge down by 0.1 percent in March after climbing by 0.4 percent in February.

At 10:30 am ET, the Energy Information Administration is due to release its report on oil inventories in the week ended May 10th. Crude oil inventories are expected to decrease by 1.4 million barrels after falling by 1.4 million barrels in the previous week.

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari is scheduled to participate in a fireside chat on the economy at 12 pm ET.

At 3:20 pm ET, Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle Bowman is due to speak on “Innovation and the Evolving Financial Landscape” at the DC Blockchain Summit 2024.