The Department of Commerce will release its monthly reading on the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Economists forecast that core personal consumption expenditures — the value of purchases excluding food and energy — increased by 0.2% month-on-month in February. Compared to last year, they forecast that core PCE increased by 1.7%, still short of the Fed’s 2% inflation target.
The core consumer price index, which also measures inflation, has exceeded the Fed’s target every month since November 2015.
The data will also include details on personal income and spending, which are forecast to grow by 0.4% and 0.2% respectively.
Here’s a preview from RBC Capital Markets:
Given the hyper-focus on “hard” data, the personal income and spending report for February should garner some fanfare. We know per the employment report that aggregate wages were up a decent 0.4% in February and this should flow through to a similar gain in headline incomes.
Retail sales were a bit softer in February, but this came with a sharp upward revision to the January numbers — control retail sales were revised up to a robust 0.8%. This suggests either some catch-up for personal spending in February or a sharp upward revision to the 0.2% gain posted in January. All in, the profile for sequential spending in Q1 should remain near the 1.7% zone in real terms.
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