Economy

U.S. inflation accelerates in December

U.S. inflation accelerates in December

Falling energy prices held down USA consumer price increases in December, while inflation for all of 2017 was steady or even lower than 2016, according to government data released today.

Core Inflation rose by 1.8%, beating expectations of only a 1.7% rise, the same as November - the Dollar rose and fell in volatile swings after the release of the contradictory data.

December's stronger than anticipated inflation data puts further pressure on the Federal Reserve to stick to its rate hiking agenda.

The retail inflation in the country has touched a new high of the last 17 months as Consumer Price Index (CPI) crossed the 5 per cent mark to settle at 5.21 per cent for the month of December 2017, which was 4.88 per cent a month ago.

USA inflation has been largely subdued for the past half-decade, perplexing Federal Reserve officials who predicted bigger wage and price increases as the supply of labor and other economic resources became more scarce. The cost of both hospital and doctor visits increased 0.3%.

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RBI expected inflation to range between 4.3 and 4.7% in Q3 and Q4 of this year, including the HRA effect of up to 35 basis points, with risks evenly balanced. Food prices rose 0.2 percent after being unchanged for two straight months.

The five-year breakeven rate meanwhile held to most of its initial gains at 1.93 percent, which was near its highest level since April.

Households also paid more for new motor vehicles, which rose 0.6 per cent in price last month, the biggest gain since January.

"It supports our view that the Fed will ultimately increase interest rates by a more aggressive 100 basis points cumulatively this year", said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

Consumer durables output grew 2.9 percent in November, against a contraction of (- 6.9 percent) in the month before, indicating a revival in demand.

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In addition, low energy prices seen in the final month of the year are unlikely to be sustained, economists say.

The output of primary goods grew by 3.2 per cent, while that of intermediate goods rose by 5.5 per cent.

Sales last month were supported by a 1.2 percent jump in receipts at gardening and building material stores.

In a separate report on Friday, the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month.

He said the biggest positive was the revision to the November retail data, suggesting fourth-quarter economic growth may have been stronger than previously thought. The economy grew at a 3.2 percent pace during that period.

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