The cost of living in the US rose slower in September, easing concerns of higher inflation which over the past 12 months has fallen more than one percent, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday.
Consumer prices edged higher last month by 0.2 percent, following a 0.4 percent climb in August. Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, also rose by 0.2 percent.
"Today’s figures won’t shift the argument about inflation risks at the Fed. They don’t show deflation, but nor do they show sufficient inflation pressures to make the doves want to tighten soon," Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, was quoted on Reuters.
Annual US inflation fell 1.3 percent. Core annual inflation rose 1.5% from September 2008 following the 1.4% increase in the 12 months ending in August.
"The threat of deflation is easing," writes Joshua Zumbrun from Forbes.com. "In August prices had fallen 1.5% year-over-year, and so September’s 1.3% decline is an improvement."
The 1.5 percent reading is well within the Fed’s 1 percent to 2 percent comfort zone.
Gold is often purchased as a hedge against inflation. Gold fell slightly after the Labor Department report was released.
"The inflation numbers took a little blush off gold," Frank McGhee, from Integrated Brokerage Services Inc. in Chicago, was quoted on Bloomberg. "Inflation is further up the road. Monetizing the debt is what creates the inflation of tomorrow, and the gold market has been anticipating that."
New York gold futures for December delivery on Thursday fell further from its recent record highs. The yellow metal moved down by $14.10, or 1.3 percent, to $1,050.60 an ounce.
Consumer price figures in September
Several interesting price figures for September follow:
- Energy prices rose 0.6% after a 4.6% increase in August
- Gasoline prices increased 1.0%, which compares to the 9.1% increase from the month prior
- Dairy and related products rose 0.5% in September, breaking a nine-month declining streak
- New vehicles prices, which fell 1.3 percent in August, rose 0.4 percent in September
- Meats, poultry, fish and egg prices fell 1.2% after the 0.4% increase in August
- Fruits and vegetables were down by 1.2%, following a 0.7% decline
US Inflation Calculator Updated
Using the most recent Consumer Price Index data, the CoinNews Inflation Calculator shows how consumer prices have changed over the years. By entering any two dates from 1913-2009 and then a dollar amount, the calculator measures the buying power of the dollar over time. Inflation over the years can be seen with these few calculator examples:
- An item purchased in 1913 for $1 would now cost $21.82 (2 cents more as compared to August)
- An item purchased in 1950 for $10 would now cost $89.61 (5 cents more as compared to August)
- An item purchased for $20 in 1985 would now cost $40.14 (2 cents more as compared to August)
Mixed dates may also be used with the Inflation Calculator. As examples:
- An item purchased today for $500 would have cost $124.55 in 1975
- An item purchased for $1000 in 1980 would have cost $1,586.17 in 1990
Of course, not all "goods and services" rise or fall in tandem with inflation rates. For example, many computers when adjusted for inflation are actually less expensive today (and do more) compared to years ago.
Latest Charts on Inflation Rates
The CoinNews inflation page also includes two updated charts indicating the:
- Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation
- Annual Percent Changes for Rate of Inflation or Inflation Rates
While the Inflation Calculator is more of a general financial interest tool, specific numismatic calculators and tools may be found via the CoinNews menu: "COIN PRICING & COLLECTOR TOOLS".
The CoinNews sister site with a similar US Inflation Calculator offers additional information on consumer prices and inflation rates.