CPI Drops, Sparking Deflation Panic

CPI drops -1.0%, largest one-month drop ever. Core down -0.1%.

Worth noting that this is month over month. Year-over-year prices still up 3.7%.

CNBC a-twitter about horrors of deflation and comparisons to Great Depression, cries for massive government spending.  Possible that we’re headed for deflation, but also worth noting that the last deflation panic, in 2003, led to Alan Greenspan keeping rates too low for too long, creating the housing bubble.

                    CONSUMER PRICE INDEX:  OCTOBER 2008<br /> <br />      The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased<br /> 1.0 percent in October, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor<br /> Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  The October<br /> level of 216.573 (1982-84=100) was 3.7 percent higher than in October<br /> 2007.<br />      <br />      The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers<br /> (CPI-W) decreased 1.3 percent in October, prior to seasonal adjustment.<br /> The October level of 212.182 (1982-84=100) was 3.8 percent higher than in<br /> October 2007.<br />      <br />      The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U)<br /> decreased 0.8 percent in October on a not seasonally adjusted basis.  The<br /> October level of 124.784 (December 1999=100) was 3.3 percent higher than<br /> in October 2007.  Please note that the indexes for the post-2006 period<br /> are subject to revision.<br />      <br /> CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)<br />      <br />     <strong> On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U decreased 1.0 percent in<br /> October following very little change in September and August.  The large<br /> October decline was the largest one month decrease since publication of<br /> seasonally adjusted changes began in February 1947.  Compared to a year<br /> ago, the October index was up 3.7 percent.  The energy index fell 8.6<br /> percent in October following declines of 1.9 percent in September and 3.1<br /> percent in August.  Motor fuel prices continued to decline in October,<br /> with the gasoline index falling 14.2 percent.   Despite the decline,<br /> gasoline prices remain 12.0 percent above their October 2007 level.   The<br /> index for household energy items declined 0.9 percent following a 3.4<br /> percent decrease in September.  Petroleum based household fuel prices<br /> continued to decline, but the October decreases were moderated by an<br /> increase in the electricity index.  The food index increased 0.3 percent<br /> in October, a smaller advance than the average monthly increase of 0.7<br /> percent during the June through September period.  Compared with a year<br /> earlier, the food index was up 6.3 percent.  The index for all items less<br /> food and energy turned down in October, (cont.)</strong><br /><br /> Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)<br />                                                                           <br />                                                                           <br />                                  Seasonally adjusted                      <br />                                                                           <br />                                                                           <br />     Expenditure                                         Compound          <br />      Category          Changes from preceding month      annual     Un-   <br />                                                           rate    adjusted<br />                                                          3-mos.   12-mos. <br />                     Apr.  May June July Aug. Sep. Oct.   ended     ended  <br />                     2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 Oct. 2008 Oct. 2008<br />                                                                                                                              <br /> All items..........   .2   .6  1.1   .8  -.1   .0 -1.0      -4.4       3.7<br />  Food and beverages   .9   .3   .7   .9   .6   .6   .3       5.7       6.1<br />  Housing...........   .3   .5   .5   .6  -.1  -.1   .0       -.9       3.2<br />  Apparel...........   .5  -.3   .1  1.2   .5  -.1 -1.0      -2.4        .3<br />  Transportation....  -.7  2.0  3.8  1.7 -1.5  -.6 -5.4     -26.2       4.2<br />  Medical care......   .2   .2   .2   .1   .2   .3   .2       2.9       2.8<br />  Recreation........  -.1   .1   .1   .4   .5   .2   .1       3.4       2.2<br />  Education and                                                            <br />     communication..   .4   .4   .5   .5   .2   .1   .2       2.1       3.4<br />  Other goods and                                                          <br />     services.......   .5   .4   .4   .4   .2   .2   .3       2.9       4.1<br /> Special indexes:                                                          <br />  Energy............   .0  4.4  6.6  4.0 -3.1 -1.9 -8.6     -43.1      11.5<br />  Food..............   .9   .3   .8   .9   .6   .6   .3       5.8       6.3<br />  All items less                                                           <br />     food and energy   .1   .2   .3   .3   .2   .1  -.1       1.1       2.2<br /><br /> declining 0.1 percent to a level 2.2 percent above October 2007.<br /> Contributing to the decrease in October were declines of 1.0 percent in<br /> the apparel index, 4.8 percent in the airline fare index, 1.6 percent in<br /> the index for lodging away from home, and 0.7 percent in the index for new<br /> and used motor vehicles.<br /> <br />      The food and beverages index rose 0.3 percent in October after a 0.6<br /> percent increase in September.   The index for food at home increased<br /> 0.1 percent in October after increasing at least 0.6 percent in each of<br /> the preceding four months.  Five of the six grocery store food groups<br /> decelerated in October.  The fruits and vegetables index declined 2.2<br /> percent in October after a 0.5 percent decrease in September.  The index<br /> for dairy and related products also registered a larger decline, falling<br /> 1.0 percent in October after a 0.6 percent decline in September.  The<br /> indexes for cereals and bakery products, for meats, poultry, fish and<br /> eggs, and for other food at home all rose more slowly in October than<br /> September.  All three indexes rose 0.6 percent in October after increases<br /> in September of 1.1, 1.0, and 1.1 percent, respectively.  Nonalcoholic<br /> beverages and beverage materials was the only major grocery store food<br /> group to increase more rapidly in October, increasing 1.2 percent after a<br /> 0.7 percent increase in September.  The other indexes in the food and<br /> beverages group, food away from home and alcoholic beverages, rose 0.5<br /> percent and 0.4 percent in October, respectively.<br />      <br />      The housing index was virtually unchanged in October after declining<br /> 0.1 percent in September.  The shelter index, which rose 0.3 percent in<br /> September, was virtually unchanged in October.  Within shelter, the index<br /> for rent of primary residence rose 0.4 percent in October after a 0.3<br /> percent increase in September.  The index for owners' equivalent rent,<br /> which increased 0.2 percent in September, rose 0.1 percent in October.<br /> The lodging away from home index turned down sharply in October, falling<br /> 1.6 percent after a 0.9 percent increase in September.  (On a not<br /> seasonally adjusted basis, the index for lodging away from home fell 1.7<br /> percent in October and was 1.4 percent below its October 2007 level).  The<br /> household energy index declined 0.9 percent in October as declines in the<br /> fuel oil and natural gas indexes more than offset an increase in the<br /> electricity index.  The index for household furnishings and operation was<br /> virtually unchanged in October after rising 0.5 percent in September.<br />      <br />      The transportation index declined sharply in October, falling 5.4<br /> percent as several major components of the index declined significantly.<br /> The motor fuels index fell 13.9 percent in October after declining 0.8<br /> percent in September.  (Prior to seasonal adjustment, motor fuel prices<br /> fell 14.8 percent in October but were 12.3 percent higher than in October<br /> 2007).  The index for new and used motor vehicles declined for the third<br /> straight month, falling 0.7 percent in October.  The new vehicles index<br /> declined 0.5 percent in October.  (Prior to seasonal adjustment, new<br /> vehicle prices fell 0.1 percent and have declined 2.3 percent since<br /> October 2007.)  The index for used cars and trucks declined 2.4 percent in<br /> October after a 1.8 percent decrease in September.  The index for public<br /> transportation declined 3.3 percent in October as the airline fare index<br /> fell 4.8 percent.  (Prior to seasonal adjustment, airline fares fell 4.4<br /> percent but are 10.4 percent higher than in October 2007.)<br />      <br />      The index for apparel fell 1.0 percent in October following a 0.1<br /> percent decline in September.   (Prior to seasonal adjustment, apparel<br /> prices rose 0.9 percent in October and were 0.3 percent higher than in<br /> October 2007.)<br />      <br />      The medical care index rose 0.2 percent in October after rising 0.3<br /> percent in September, and was 2.8 percent higher than a year ago.  The<br /> index for medical care commodities--prescription drugs, nonprescription<br /> drugs, and medical supplies-and the index for medical care services each<br /> increased 0.2 percent in October.  Within the latter group, the index for<br /> physicians' services rose 0.1 percent and the index for hospital and<br /> related services increased 0.4 percent.<br />      <br />      The index for recreation advanced 0.1 percent in October, following a<br /> 0.2 percent increase in September.  The index for video and audio declined<br /> 0.6 percent in October, while the index for photography declined 0.8<br /> percent and the index for toys fell 0.5 percent.  The indexes for pets and<br /> pet products and services and for sporting goods increased substantially<br /> in October, rising 0.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.<br />      <br />      The index for education and communication rose 0.2 percent in October<br /> after a 0.1 percent increase in September.  The index for education rose<br /> 0.4 percent in October, the same increase as in September.  The index for<br /> communication was virtually unchanged in October after declining 0.2<br /> percent in September.  Within communication, the index for telephone<br /> services rose 0.1 percent while the index for information technology,<br /> hardware and services declined 0.3 percent.<br />      <br />      The index for other goods and services rose 0.3 percent in October<br /> following a 0.2 percent increase in September.  The index for tobacco and<br /> smoking products rose 0.4 percent in October after being virtually<br /> unchanged in September, while the index for personal care, which rose 0.3<br /> percent in September, advanced 0.2 percent in October.<br /> <br /> <br />

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