April 21, 2018

Hungary inflation edges up to 2.0% in March

12 April 2018, 06:17 | Lionel James

Bloomberg’s Tom Mackenzie reports on the performance of the Chinese economy

Bloomberg’s Tom Mackenzie reports on the performance of the Chinese economy

Meanwhile, cell phone service - which had been blamed for the bafflingly low inflation past year - finally showed the uptick analysts had predicted.

CPI slipped 0.1% versus a month ago.

But the CPI remains an important benchmark and the March price data could send jitters through Wall Street, where investors get skittish when faced with signs the Fed could raise interest rates more aggressively. That was the largest annual gain in a year and followed February's 2.2 per cent increase. Annual inflation is rising as the big price declines from a year ago drop from the calculation. The core consumer price index, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 2.0 per cent in March, slowing from 2.5 per cent in February. It was the lowest year over year increase since February 2017 when annual inflation reached 4.86%, and 0.3% lower than last month's rate.

The CPI increased y/y in all sectors, except in the health sector, where it was flat.

On a month-on-month basis, the CPI declined 1.1 per cent, from a 1.2 per cent rise in February.

Chinese consumer and producer price inflation both undershot economist expectations in March, largely reflecting the unwinding of temporary impacts caused by Lunar New Year celebrations.

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In line with the central bank's assessments, annual inflation is expected to hover around 2.2% in 2018 and converge to the central bank's target in 2019. The U.S. central bank raised borrowing costs last month and forecast at least two more rate hikes in 2018.

What happened: The cost of gasoline fell nearly 5% in March after seasonal adjustments, though the decline in prices that consumers actually paid at the pump was considerably less.

A separate report, also released Wednesday by the Labor Department, showed average hourly earnings adjusted for inflation rose 0.4 percent from March 2017.

The core CPI's pickup will help reinforce the view of policy makers that inflation had been weighed down by transient factors such as the unusual weakness in the cost of wireless-phone services. That likely accounted for the big jump in the annual inflation rate last month.

The price of alcoholic drinks and tobacco products increased by 1.3%, in particular those for tobacco goods by 1.7%, alcoholic drinks by 0.8%.

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