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US Inflation Hits Lowest Point Since Early 2021: Gas, Groceries, and Used Car Prices Ease

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Update: October 14, 2023

U.S. inflation saw a welcome drop to 3.2% in October, exceeding expectations and offering a sigh of relief to consumers and investors. This decrease in inflation spurred a boost in the stock market, reflecting growing optimism in the economy.

Article Summary

The US inflation rate has reached its lowest point since early 2021, sitting at 3% in June (3.7 in September) compared to the previous year due to a decrease in prices for gasoline, airline fares, used cars, and groceries. Improvements in inflation figures and a strong job market could result in a "soft landing" where price increases fall back to 2% without causing significant unemployment or a recession.

US Inflation Dips to 3%; Gives Relief to Americans

The US inflation rate has dropped to 3% in June, its lowest since early 2021, providing relief to Americans hit by high prices for the past two years. This drop is due to price easing in sectors like gasoline, airline fares, used cars, and groceries.

Inflation's Impact on the Economy

With the Fed's benchmark rate having been raised by 5 percentage points since March 2022, economists and investors hope to achieve a "soft landing", where price increases fall back to 2% without causing unemployment or a deep recession. Economists believe it can reach the Fed's 2% target earlier than expected.

Food and Energy Prices Influence Inflation

Inflation has been influenced by the volatile food and energy prices. Core inflation, excluding these sectors, was lower last month than expected, marking the smallest monthly increase in nearly two years. There has been a significant decrease in overall inflation from nearly 5% in April to just 3.7% now. This is largely due to the fading spikes in food and energy prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Future Outlook on Inflation

Some drivers of higher prices are expected to continue declining, pulling down inflation in the coming months. Used car prices, for example, sank 0.5% from May to June after two months of big spikes. Likewise, new-car prices have begun to ease and were unchanged from May to June. As the global shortage of computer chips lessens, automakers are accelerating production, leading to a slight drop in new-vehicle prices.

Rental costs, a significant driver of inflation, are also expected to decline as more new apartment units are completed. With housing costs driving more than two-thirds of the increase in core inflation in the past year, a decrease in these costs should steadily lower overall inflation.



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