US Inflation Rate Rises To 3.7%, Core Inflation Falls To 4.3% - 14 September 2023

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The US consumer price index (CPI) accelerated in August to 3.7% year-on-year, up from 3.2% in July and above the market estimate of 3.6%. This marked the second straight month that inflation has accelerated.

Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, fell to 4.3% in August, down from 4.7% a month earlier and matched the consensus forecast. This was the lowest level since September 2021.

On a monthly basis, headline CPI rose 0.6%, up sharply from the July gain of 0.2% and matching the estimate. The main factor in the upswing was a 10.6% jump in the price of gasoline. Core CPI climbed 0.3%, up from 0.2% in July and above the market estimate of 0.2%.

The rise in inflation will make headlines in the media, but the Federal Reserve will be paying closer attention to Core CPI and will be pleased with the drop to 4.3%.

Ahead of the inflation report, the Fed was widely expected to take a pause at next week’s rate meeting, and the drop in Core CPI should cement the Fed holding rates at the target range of 5.25%-5.50%.

The Federal Reserve still has work to do in the battle against inflation, which remains above the Fed’s 2% target. Federal Reserve President Jerome Powell has stated that further rate hikes are on the table, but traders are split as to whether the Fed will hike one last time in November or take a pause.

Inflation may be higher than what the Fed wants to see, but it appears that the Fed is close to winding up the current tightening cycle, even if Powell & Co. continue to insist that the door is open to additional rate increases.

In the Forex market, the US dollar showed volatility against the majors immediately after the inflation report but then steadied, as the release had a very short-lived effect on the US currency. The EUR/USD currency pair and GBP/USD currency pair experienced swings of around 60 basis points following the inflation release but have steadied.

US stock exchanges opened just a short time ago and are showing small gains. The S&P 500 Index is up 9.84 (0.22%) at 4,470.34 and the Nasdaq 100 Index has gained 63.66 (0.42%) at 15,353.30.


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