UNITED STATES — A jump in energy prices was almost entirely responsible for the rise in the headline year-over-year rate to back above a 2 percent rate in September, reports RBC senior economist Nathan Janzen.
Gasoline prices surged 13 percent higher on a month-over-month basis in September, and were up almost 20 percent from a year ago, as production disruptions at petroleum refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast region tied to Hurricane Harvey hit gasoline supply. Most of that increase should ultimately prove transitory as production recovers.
Outside of the energy component, trends were little changed. Core — ex-food and energy — price growth held steady at 1.7 percent on a year-over-year basis for a fifth consecutive month.
According to Janzen, the year-over-year increase would look stronger if not for an unusually large decline in telecommunication prices earlier this year and the Fed will likely take some comfort from the fact that the pace of growth is no longer slowing.
He added that the economic backdrop still looks solid and labor markets are increasingly tight so it is more likely that underlying inflation pressures will move higher than lower going forward.
“With most (non-price) indicators suggesting that the U.S. economy is quite close to capacity, we continue to think that more interest rate hikes will be warranted,” Janzen says. “Nonetheless, near-term inflation pressures still look relatively benign, so we also continue to expect the pace of increases will be very gradual.”
Source: RBC press release