CPI Climbs Above Estimates

by: Roy Mehta

The Labor Department announced Friday the consumer price index rose to 0.8% in November, exceeding expectations. The figure represented an alarming increase over October's CPI, which came in at 0.3%. The jump was driven by energy costs. The core-CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, increased 0.3%, its largest rise since January. Both November numbers were worse than economists' forecasts of a 0.6% jump in CPI and a 0.2% increase in core-CPI. "There is no question inflation is going to remain a concern for policy makers," said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International. "This certainly will give some policy makers pause about the advisability and desirability of further rate cuts." Consumer prices rose 4.3% from last year, equaling the highest rate since September 2005. Annual core-inflation jumped for the first time since January to 2.3%; however, it is still not too far above the Fed's unofficial comfort zone level of under 2.0%. On Tuesday, the Fed lowered rates 25 basic points, disappointing some who were looking for a more aggressive cut. But now, signs of increasing inflation have materialized in the import price data, PPI, and CPI, and the Fed's modest move seems a little more justified. Futures were down after the release of the data.

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