Inflation slowed again last month, more than expected, as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates at the fastest pace in decades.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in November showed a 7.1% increase over last year and 0.1% increase over the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday. Economists had expected prices to rise at an annual 7.3% clip and 0.3% month-over-month, per Bloomberg data.
On a “core” basis, which strips out the volatile food and energy components of the report, prices climbed 6.0% year-over-year and 0.2% over November. Consensus estimates called for a 6.1% annual increase and 0.3% monthly increase in the core CPI reading.
US stocks futures surged following the release. Contracts on the S&P 500 rallied 2.8%, while futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared more than 700 points. Nasdaq futures roared 3.8%.
While November’s figures showed inflationary pressures retreated, the costs of essential items and housing facing US consumers still remain stubbornly high.
The Federal Reserve keeps a closer eye on “core” inflation, which offers policymakers a more nuanced look at inputs like housing. The headline CPI figure, in contrast, has moved largely in tandem with erratic energy prices this year.
While falling oil prices sent headline inflation lower last month, the shelter category of CPI — which accounts for 30% of overall CPI and 40% of the core reading — was the dominant contributor to the monthly all-items increase and more than offset declines in energy indexes. The cost of shelter rose 7.1% over the last year, comprising nearly half of the total increase in core CPI, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
“Housing costs have a unique, symbiotic relationship with inflation,” Bright MLS Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant said in a note.
In a speech at the Brooking Institution in Washington DC last month, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell emphasized that housing inflation has risen rapidly, while inflation in other core services “has fluctuated but shown no clear trend.”
Meanwhile, food prices rose 0.5%, little changed from the 0.6% increase seen in October. Four of the six major grocery store food group increased over the month.
Tuesday’s key inflation report – perhaps the last major economic release of 2022 – also comes as the Federal Reserve kicks off its final meeting of the year. On Wednesday, members of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) are poised to lift interest rates by 50 basis points, a slowdown from the 0.75% increases delivered over the past four meetings.
Lighter than expected inflation data is unlikely to stop officials from raising their benchmark policy rate by the projected 0.50% at the end of their meeting or proceed with another estimated 75 basis points worth of hikes in the new year.
(This post is breaking. Please check back for updates.)
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc
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