Aug 11, 2021 - Economy

Consumer prices rise in July, but rate of inflation slows

Illustration of a hand holding dollar sign balloons.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The core Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks prices of goods and services excluding food and energy, rose by 0.3% in July on a month-over-month basis.

Why it matters: The reading shows a slowdown in the rate at which inflation has been rising, after a 0.9% increase in June and 0.7% in May.

  • The Federal Reserve is watching closely for signs that inflation is getting overheated, which could lead it to pull back its emergency market support sooner rather than later.
  • Economists expected a 0.4% rise.

The big picture: While inflation is still high by historical standards, Wednesday's figures show that it may have peaked, at least for the time being. Another inflation measure, the core personal consumption expenditures index (PCE), also retreated from a peak monthly growth level in its most recent reading on July 30.

  • The headline CPI figure, which includes energy and food prices, showed a 0.5% monthly increase, compared to a 0.9% uptick in June.
  • On a year-over-year basis, July’s core CPI and headline CPI figures rose 4.3% and 5.4%, respectively.

Zoom in: Used vehicle prices rose 0.2%, after a 10.5% rise in June. They're up 41.7% since a year ago.

  • The slowdown in used vehicle price growth was a major factor in the decelerating overall CPI growth.
  • New vehicle prices rose 1.7% in July, after 2% growth in June.
  • Transportation services were down 1.1%, and airline fares fell slightly, by 0.1%, after sharp rises in prior months.
  • Food prices grew 0.8%, after 0.7% growth in June.
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