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Prices rose 0.2 percent in December, federal data shows

© iStock - Khanchit Khirisutchalual
Casey Harper

(The Center Square) – Newly released federal inflation data shows prices rose in December.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its Producer Consumption Expenditure, a key marker of inflation, which showed a 0.2 percent increase last month. That is an increase of 2.9 percent in the last year.

"Prices for goods decreased 0.2 percent and prices for services increased 0.3 percent. Food prices increased 0.1 percent and energy prices increased 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.2 percent."

The PCE is one of several economic indicators showing that prices continue to rise and show little signs of returning to the pre-COVID levels. Prices have risen about 17 percent since President Joe Biden took office.

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Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, another leading marker of inflation.

The CPI, which considers the prices for a wide range of goods and services rose more than expected in December.

According to BLS, the CPI rose 0.3 percent in December, which is a break from the recent months of very low inflation. Overall, prices rose 3.4 percent in the last 12 months according to the BLS data.

"Although inflationary pressures continue to normalize with 'core' numbers inching ever closer to the Fed’s 2 percent target, the Fed will continue to monitor the effect of stronger consumer spending coupled with the promise of fiscal stimulus on igniting a bout of inflation," Quincy Krosby, Chief Global Strategist for LPL Financial in Charlotte, N.C., said in a statement. "Still, expectations remain that the Fed will be discussing 'when' – not 'if – to initiate its rate cut cycle at its upcoming meeting.

"Unless next month’s collection of inflation-related data underscores decisively that the path towards to 2 percent is squarely in sight, the Fed will most likely wait until May or June to begin easing rates," Krosby added.

The data also showed an increase in Americans' income.

"Personal income increased $60.0 billion (0.3 percent at a monthly rate) in December, according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis..." BEA said. "Disposable personal income (DPI), personal income less personal current taxes, increased $51.8 billion (0.3 percent)."