US inflation over the past year returned to positive territory for the first time since February and Americans paid more for energy in November, bringing the cost of living up from the prior month, according to a government report released on Wednesday.
Consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in November — as most analysts expected — after a 0.3 percent increase in October, the Labor Department said.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, was unchanged in November, creating a small surprise for those expecting a 0.1 percent rise. The flat reading is a stark contrast to the 10 straight months of prior increases.
Annual US inflation jumped 1.8 percent as compared to the 0.2 percent decline seen in the prior 12 months in October.
Core 12-month inflation increased 1.7%. The measure is within the Federal Reserve’s 1 percent to 2 percent comfort zone.
Gold is often purchased as a hedge against inflation. With major inflation data coming in mostly as expected, the yellow metal continued to be driven by the direction of the dollar.
"Going into year-end, with relatively thin trading in both the currency and the gold markets… gold is likely to be driven in large by the currency moves," Daniel Major, an analyst at RBS Global Banking & Markets, said on Reuters.
New York gold futures ended $13.20 higher on Wednesday, rising to $1,136.20 an ounce.
Consumer prices in November
Several price figures for the month follow:
- New vehicles prices rose 0.6% after a 1.6% rise in October
- Used car and truck prices climbed 2.0% compared to the 3.4% increase during the month prior
- Energy prices soared 4.1% following a 1.5% increase in October
- Gasoline prices jumped 6.4% following an increase of 1.6% from the month prior
- Fuel oil prices surged 9.0%. They rose 6.3% in October.
- Dairy and related products declined 0.7% after increasing 1.0% in October
- Lodging away from home prices fell 1.5% after a rise of rose 0.4%
- Clothing prices declined 0.3% in November after declining 0.4% in the month prior
- Housing prices, which accounts for about a third of the CPI index, decreased 0.2% after unchanged readings from the two prior months
U.S. Inflation Calculator Update
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 $21.85 (1 penny more than the prior month)
- An item purchased in 1950 for $10 would now cost $89.76 (6 cents more than the prior month)
- An item purchased for $20 in 1985 would now cost $40.21 (3 cents more than the prior month)
Mixed dates may also be used with the Inflation Calculator. As examples:
- An item purchased today for $500 would have cost $124.35 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.